US Congress certifies Joe Biden as next president, Harris as VP
After a chaotic day of protest and violence, Congress has certified Democrats Joe Biden as the next president and Kamala Harris as vice president of the United States.
The action finalises the 2020 US electoral process and makes clear that Biden will be inaugurated as president on January 20, President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede notwithstanding.
“The United States Senate will not be intimidated,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell who rejected Trump’s claims of election fraud as unfounded and blasted pro-Trump protesters who stormed the US Capitol.
“We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the constitution,” McConnell said when the Senate reconvened after rioters were removed from the Capitol.
The US Constitution requires Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College submitted by the states. Biden won 306 electors to 232 for Trump.
The votes confirming Biden as president are a forceful rejection of Trump’s claims that the election was stolen from him through illegitimate balloting in key states.
Pro-Trump politicians objecting to the certification of Biden were unable to present evidence of substantial fraud that would overturn the vote in any state. Courts had repeatedly dismissed dozens of Trump’s legal claims.
But a faction of Republican senators and representatives had intended to object to Wednesday’s count of electors from key states that had given Biden the win – Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
The effort was largely symbolic and doomed to fail as majorities of lawmakers in both chambers planned to reject Trump’s false claims of fraud and vote to certify Biden.