Congress formally certified Joe Biden as the next US president on Thursday, dealing a hammer blow to Donald Trump whose supporters stormed the Capitol hours earlier, triggering unprecedented scenes of mayhem in the seat of American democracy.
Lawmakers were resolved to complete the Electoral College tally in a display to the country, and the world, as the US Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy, a shaken Congress on Thursday formally certified Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
Before dawn on Thursday, lawmakers completed their work, confirming Biden won the election.
Vice President Mike Pence, presiding over the joint session, announced the tally, 306-232.
Vice President Mike Pence, in declaring the final vote totals behind Biden’s victory, said this “shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected president and vice president of the United States.”
Trump, who had repeatedly refused to concede the election, said in a statement immediately after the vote that there will be a smooth transition of power on Inauguration Day.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement posted to Twitter by an aide.
Police said four people died during the chaos – one from gunshot wounds and three from medical emergencies — and 52 people were arrested.
Some besieged the House of Representatives chamber while lawmakers were inside, banging on its doors and forcing suspension of the certification debate. Security officers piled furniture against the chamber’s door and drew their pistols before helping lawmakers and others escape.
The assault on the Capitol was the culmination of months of divisive and escalating rhetoric around the Nov.3 election, with the Republican president repeatedly making false claims that the vote was rigged and urging his supporters to help him overturn his loss.
The chaos unfolded after Trump – who before the election refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost – addressed thousands of supporters near the White House and told them to march on the Capitol to express their anger at the voting process.
He told his supporters to pressure their elected officials to reject the results, urging them “to fight.”
Some prominent Republicans in Congress strongly criticized Trump, putting the blame for the day’s violence squarely on his shoulders.
“There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney said on Twitter.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a leading conservative from Arkansas, called on Trump to accept his election loss and “quit misleading the American people and repudiate mob violence.”
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are due to take office on Jan.20.