Biden’s election certified after deadly riots on U.S. Capitol
The certification of the Electoral College of the presidential election was disrupted in Congress as the U.S. Capitol was stormed by a mob of Pro-Trump demonstrators Wednesday afternoon in what President-elect Joe Biden called an “insurrection.” The chaos resulted in one woman being fatally shot by Capitol police inside the Capitol Building when attempting to push through an entrance inside the building.
After several hours of chaos which resulted in members of Congress fleeing their chambers, Congress reconvened after 8 p.m. and certified the election of Biden.
Washington D.C. Metro Police Chief Robert Contee III reported that pro-Trump demonstrators marched onto the Capitol from the National Mall after a speech by President Donald Trump and stormed inside the Capitol after fighting off Capitol police as part of a riot which breeched fencing. That riot disrupted Congressional proceedings for the certification of the presidential election’s electoral college. One person, a civilian, was shot during the storming of the Capitol, Contee said.
“It was clear that the crowd was intent on causing harm to our officers by deploying chemical irritants on police to gain access to the Capitol building,” Contee said.
The Electoral College vote was ultimately certified after Congress overruled objections by some Republicans to the voting in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Congressman Byron Donalds (R-Naples), who represents Lee County and Collier County, was one of 12 Florida representatives to object. The Senate voted 93-6 against the objections to results in Arizona and 92-7 against the objections to results in Pennsylvania. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) objected to the results in Pennsylvania but not the results in Arizona. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted against the objections in both states.
In a statement on Facebook following the riots on the Capitol, Donalds said “Americans have the right to peacefully protest & demand their government works for them–that doesn’t mean we resort to violence. Rule of law must stand during our nation’s brightest & darkest hours & that includes right now. We are better than this. There is no place for anarchy.”
Donalds could not be reached for further comment.
U.S. Rep. William Gregory Steube (R-Sarasota), whose district encompasses North Fort Myers and part of Lehigh Acres, did not return a message seeking comment.
The nation watched as scores of pro-Trump demonstrators with Trump hats, clothing and signs battled U.S. Capitol Police, broke past barricades, smashed windows and took over the Capitol Building. According to the Associated Press, many ended up rummaging through the desks of representatives and broke into offices. The office of Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) reported that a laptop was stolen from his office.
After the violence, President Donald Trump said to pro-Trump demonstrators who stormed the Capitol “I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everybody knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us. From me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace so go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way other people are treated that is so bad, so evil but go home and go home in peace.”
Before Trump issued his statement, Biden called on Trump to act and “demand an end to this siege,” saying “our democracy is under unprecedented assault.”
Biden said the storming of the Capitol by a violent mob, into the House’s chambers “on the people’s representatives” and offices represented an “insurrection.”
Biden called the actions by the mob an “assault on the rule of law like few times we have ever seen it. An assault on one the most sacred of American undertakings – the doing of the people’s business. Let me be very clear, the scenes of chaos in the capital do not reflect a true America, do not reflect who we are. What we are seeing is a small group of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It’s disorder, it’s chaos, it borders on sedition and it must end now.”
Before the violence began during the Congressional proceedings, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said “nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election. Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence. The constitution gives us here in Congress a limited role. We can not simply declare ourself a national board of elections on steroids. The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever. This election was actually not unusually close. Just in recent history, 1976, 2000 and 2004 were all closer than this one. The Electoral College margin is almost identical to 2016.
“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We would never see the whole nation accept an election again. Every four years it would be a scramble for power at any cost. The Electoral College, which most of us have been defending for years, would cease to exist.”
McConnell said “self government requires a shared commitment to the truth and a shared respect for the ground rules of our system.”
Former Congressman Francis Rooney (R-Naples), who represented Lee County and Collier County before deciding not to run for another term this November, posted the following statement on Facebook:
“All of America should be saddened and sickened by today’s events at the US Capitol. President Trump is complicit in inciting violence to contest an election that is over and adjudicated. This must stop now.”
U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) stated “everyone has a right to peacefully protest. No one has a right to commit violence. What happened today at the Capitol is disgraceful and un-American. It is not what our country stands for.”
Scott said “the thugs who stormed the Capitol yesterday need to be arrested and prosecuted. If you saw something or have any information about yesterday’s attack, please contact the authorities.”
U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Gainesville) said the violence reached the House floor midway through debate on the objection of the Arizona certification.
“Protesters began attempting to breach the House Floor. In response, Capitol police barricaded the doors and members were instructed to prepare their evacuation hoods in anticipation of tear gas being deployed. As attempts to gain entry into the chamber grew in intensity, I witnessed fellow Members joining with Capitol Police to further barricade doors by piling furniture. They also began breaking furniture to provide themselves with any means of defense they could find. Within minutes, the sounds of shots began coming through the door. We then began evacuating quickly out of the chamber to a safe location.”
Cammack said she is “irate. I am heartbroken. What has transpired here today is unacceptable. Anything less than a full condemnation of this violence is unacceptable. My constituents sent me to Washington to fight for their rights and to be their voice.
“In the midst of fighting a legitimate and most serious objection to the certification of the states with egregious election violations, we were stopped. We were stopped by people not intent on fighting for our Constitutional Republic and our constitution; instead they wanted to tear it down.
“We as a nation have lost too many in the name of service to our Republic. My own family has given much in service to our country from my grandfather who served and was a POW in Nazi Germany to my own brother who served overseas in Iraq. As I write this statement, my husband, who is a first responder, is by my side.
“Anyone who believes that the violence our country has seen as of late is okay, is wrong. Any groups promoting hate or the overthrow of our Republic is, in fact, trampling the flag and Constitution we hold so dear. It is also a slap in the face to every serviceman and woman who has given so much to our nation. Any violence, past or present, I have condemned and will continue to condemn.
“My message is simple. Violence will not be tolerated. If you attack the Capitol, you attack this country. I will fight endlessly to protect our Constitution and the Republic from tyranny. I condemn in the strongest of terms any violence perpetrated by any group.”
Cammack also opposed the Pennsylvania election certification when Congress reconvened.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement:
“Yesterday we saw a violent insurrection at the Capitol incited by President Trump and led by his supporters who believe the election was stolen from them. This is a conspiracy theory – full stop. Joe Biden is the president-elect and he won in a free and fair election.
“And yet even after this desecration of the Capitol that put the lives of our Congress Members and staff at risk, 12 of the Congressional leaders from Florida voted to invalidate election results from swing states where they didn’t like the outcomes. It is despicable.
“Fanning the flames of these conspiracy theories, and giving them weight in the halls of our Congress despite over 60 failed lawsuits and absolutely no evidence is dangerous and deeply antithetical to our democracy. These Congress Members should be ashamed and will be held accountable by Florida voters. “
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the attacks on the U.S. Capitol “a stain on our country” and part of the legacy of President Donald Trump.
Schumer blamed Trump for encouraging conspiracy theories and inciting the violence through “his words and his lies.”
Schumer said the “rioters and insurrectionists, goons and thugs, and domestic terrorists” who desecrated the nation’s Capitol were egged on by Trump.
“Now Jan. 6 will go down as one of the darkest days in recent American history, a final warning to our nation about the consequences of a demagogic president.”