On January 6, Congress certified the vote to make Joe Biden the next president of the United States. In a joint session, the House of Representatives and Senate voted to confirm the Electoral College vote of the 2020 election, naming Biden as the successor to Donald Trump in the White House.
Biden will be sworn in on January 20, along with his vice-presidential pick, Kamala Harris – both the first woman and person of color to enter the post.
The event was mired in controversy, however, due to the accusations of electoral fraud. Several Republican congresspeople had intended to object to the certification and request an audit of the vote, claiming that the election result was fraudulent.
Texas senator Ted Cruz was one lawmaker who objected to the results, and he stated during the debate over Arizona’s vote count: “We have seen, and no doubt will continue to see a lot of moralizing from both sides of the aisle. But I would urge to both sides of the aisle, perhaps, a bit less certitude and a bit more recognition that we are gathered at a time when democracy is in crisis.”
On the other hand, some argued that it was not the role of Congress to interfere in the election results. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell argued that “We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids,” while California Representative Zoe Lofgren said the 2020 election was the most secure in modern history. If Congress overturns the Electoral College on this, then those already governing will have chosen the president, rather than the people, she claimed.
The count itself was paused for a few hours when pro-Trump protesters broke into the Capitol building, and members of Congress went to hide.
A large rally was being held in Washington, D.C., at which President Trump gave a speech. A group of protesters stormed the Capitol, with a few entering the Senate and House chambers. Some clashed with police, and one protester was killed by law enforcement. Officials on all sides were quick to condemn any violence, with Joe Biden even going so far as to call the event “insurrection,” adding, “This is not dissent. It is disorder. It is chaos. It borders on sedition.”
The National Guard was called in and a curfew imposed on Washington D.C., causing the protest to disperse. Members of Congress then resumed their proceedings. While it was not expected the objections would be successful anyway, the protest seemed to make this even less likely. In the end, Biden was confirmed to be the 46th president.
Despite vowing to continue his Make America Great Again agenda, Trump ultimately conceded the election, declaring that he will leave the Oval Office at the end of his first term. Though his Twitter account was blocked in the wake of the protest at Congress, he shared a message through a staff member, saying:
“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. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”
What does the result mean for America’s future? We will all have to wait to find out.