The Senate on Wednesday night overwhelmingly defeated a move to reject President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Arizona, setting the stage for what could be final confirmation of his national victory over President Donald Trump.
The Senate’s vote came after Congress on Wednesday night resumed the process of counting electoral votes and confirming Biden’s victory, hours after swarms of Trump’s supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol and derailed the proceedings for around six hours.
One woman was shot and killed during the riot.
The leaders of both the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the Senate said they would confirm Biden’s election “tonight.” That seemed to indicate that there would be no more sustained challenges to the results of individual state’s elections.
Just six GOP senators voted against Biden’s Arizona electoral votes being counted as legitimate by Congrees: Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Alabama freshman Tommy Tuberville, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, and Roger Marshall of Kansas.
Before the riot, there were concerns it could take many hours, or even days, to confirm Biden won the Electoral College with 306 votes to Trump’s 232 because of expected objections to individual states’ electors by some Republican senators and House members. Those objections were based on claims by Trump and others that he was swindled out of winning a second term because of widespread ballot fraud, a claim for which there is no credible evidence.
There was no expectation, however, that Biden ever would be denied his ultimate victory, because it would take both a majority in both chambers of Congress to reject a state’s electors.
Democrats control the House of Representatives, guaranteeing that they would defeat any challenge in that chamber. In the Senate, the effort was doomed because while Republicans still hold a slim majority there, many GOP senators were opposed to overturning the election results from any state.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who lost a special election Tuesday night, said on the Senate floor before the vote that she would not object to counting of votes for Biden in some states, despite having said earlier this week that she would do so.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter to colleagues that the decision to quickly resume counting votes on the heels of the riot was made in consultation with political leaders including Vice President Mike Pence, who is presiding over the joint session of Congress.
“Our purpose will be accomplished,” Pelosi said as she reconvened the House’s session, about an hour after the Senate resumed its own proceedings.
“Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol,” Pence said as he opened the session in the Senate.
“We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms,” the vice president, who previously served as a congressman from Indiana
“The violence was quelled, the Capitol is secured, and the people’s work continues,” Pence said.
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins,” he said.
“Let’s get back to work.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “The United States Senate will not be intimidated.”
“We are back at our posts, we will discharge our duty,” McConnell said. “We assembled this afternoon to count our citizens’ votes, and to formalize their choice of president.”
“We will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election,” he concluded.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., blasted Trump, whom he called “undoubtedly our worst president,” and whom he said “bears a great deal of the blame” for the riot.
“This mob was in good part President Trump’s doing,” said Schumer. “His responsibility, his everlasting shame.”
Schumer compared the invasion of the Capitol complex by a horde of people to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, saying Jan. 6, 2021, will be another “day of infamy” in American history.
“This temple of democracy was desecrated,” he said. “This will be stain on our country, not so easily washed away.”
“We will begin the hard work of repairing the country tonight.”
The pro-Trump mob triggered lockdowns and evacuations at the Capitol, forcing lawmakers out of the House and Senate chambers shortly after the proceedings began at 1 p.m.
Rioters were recorded walking the halls of the government building, entering politicians’ offices and occupying the Senate chamber.
This is developing news. Please check back for updates