WASHINGTON – In predawn hours Thursday, members of Congress ended a marathon session by confirming Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. The U.S. House and Senate review of the Electoral College vote resumed mid-evening Wednesday after a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to block the certification of Biden’s victory.
Lawmakers were resolved to complete their constitutional duty despite frayed nerves, high tensions and the nation’s capital on alert.
Vice President Mike Pence reopened the Senate and directly addressed the demonstrators: “You did not win.” Hours later -- just before 4 a.m. -- presiding over the joint session, he announced the tally: 306-232.
Some Republicans who had vowed to object to the electors in some states won by Biden dropped their opposition in the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol that came shortly after Trump fired up thousands of supporters attending a “Save America March.”
When members of Congress reconvened hours after the building was cleared, they concluded debate on the objection to Arizona’s electors and voted to uphold that delegation. The only other challenge was to the Pennsylvania electors, but that was also debated and denied.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott was one of only eight in the nation who voted to sustain one or both objections. Florida’s senior senator, Marco Rubio, voted with the majority to accept the Electoral College vote and called on Trump to do more to help restore order.
“Mr. President @realDonaldTrump the men & women of law enforcement are under assault. It is crucial you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down. There is nothing patriotic about what is occurring on Capitol Hill. This is 3rd world style anti-American anarchy,” Rubio tweeted.
Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was defeated the day before by Raphael Warnock in a runoff election, said on the Senate floor she had planned to vote in support of the objections, but the violence on the Capitol changed her mind.