After All That, Congress Confirms Biden's Electoral Victory
While chaos suddenly erupted in the Capitol in the form of a pro-Trump mob, order was eventually restored.
Despite objections from members of Congress and a massive pro-Trump rally in Washington that turned into a mob storming and taking over the U.S. Capitol building for a few hours yesterday, the joint session of Congress officiated by Vice President Mike Pence in the early morning hours Thursday eventually tallied the Electoral College votes certifying Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.
The official EC vote tally was 306 for Biden and Kamala Harris to 232 for Donald Trump and Pence. Those number were identical to the 2016 EC tally.
While objections were raised by Republican lawmakers, Pence made it clear prior to the joint session that he would not act to prevent the certification of the vote, writing in a letter, “It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”
After Congress reconvened following the removal of the riotous mob from the Capitol, Pence forcefully stated, “To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins, and this is still the people’s house. And as we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy, for even in the wake of unprecedented violence and vandalism at this Capitol, the elected representatives of the people of the United States have assembled again on the very same day to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also condemned the rioters, stating, “Mobs don’t rule America. Laws rule America. It was true when our cities were burning this summer and it is true now. Nobody has the right to become a mob, and we all should stand united in condemning a mob together.”
Yet McCarthy also acknowledged the legitimacy of Republican objections to the EC vote. “I know what we debate today is tough, but it’s just, it’s right. This isn’t the first side of the aisle that has ever debated this issue. I thought about when Madam Speaker said back in 2005, ‘This is democracy at its best,’ when they talked about a presidential election in Ohio. These are the moments that we should raise the issue about integrity and accountability and accuracy in our elections. Do you know what we should do? Not just raise the issues, but work together to solve the problems.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), prior to the mob rushing the Capitol, offered his objection to certification and arguing for the creation on an electoral commission as a “credible, impartial body to hear the evidence” with an emergency 10-day audit of the six states in question. “I am not arguing for setting aside the result of this election. All of us are faced with two choices, both of which are lousy,” Cruz stated. “One choice is to vote against the objections. Tens of millions of Americans will see a vote against the objections as a statement that voter fraud doesn’t matter, isn’t real, shouldn’t be taken seriously. A great many of us don’t believe that. On the other hand, most if not all of us do not believe we should set aside the results of an election just because our candidate may not have prevailed. So we endeavor to look to door number three — a third option. For that I look to history, to the precedent of the 1876 election.” (The Cato Institute’s Thomas Berry has an explanation of why that’s the wrong precedent.)
Outgoing Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who had planned to back calls for an electoral commission prior to the mob storming of the Capitol, had a change of heart. She said, “When I arrived in Washington this morning I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes. However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider. I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors. The violence, the lawlessness, and the siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect.”
In the end, it was the sobering words of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that ruled the day, as he gave one of the most significant speeches of his career. While noting the fraud and irregularities of the election, McConnell also observed, “I’ve supported the president’s right to use the legal system … in courtrooms all across our country. But over and over, the courts rejected these claims — including all-star judges whom the president himself has nominated. Every election we know features some illegality and irregularity, and of course that’s unacceptable. I support strong, state-led voting reforms. Last year’s bizarre pandemic procedures must not become the new norm.”
Yet he further observed, “My colleagues, 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 cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids.”
He warned, “The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. They’ve all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever.” In closing, he stated, “So I believe protecting our constitutional order requires respecting the limits of our own power. It would be unfair and wrong to disenfranchise American voters and overrule the courts and the states on this extraordinarily thin basis. And I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing. I will vote to respect the people’s decision and defend our system of government as we know it.”
Win or lose elections, the institution of the American system of representative government must be upheld or we have no republic. That means dealing squarely with the Left’s bulk-mail balloting fraud. It does not mean lawlessness. Those rioters who occupied the Capitol yesterday were devoid of any respect for our nation, its laws, and the Constitution they claim to be defending.