The United States Congress on Wednesday affirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Donald Trump. This came after the Senate and the House rejected objections to Georgia and Pennsylvania’s electoral votes for Biden. The objections to Arizona, Nevada and Michigan’s electoral votes were also turned down.
Hours before, hundreds of supporters of outgoing United States President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol complex in Washington DC, and clashed with the police as members of the Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential elections.
A woman was shot dead inside the Capitol, while three people died in medical emergencies, the Washington DC police have said. As many as 52 people have been arrested so far. Videos on social media showed the mob shattering the Capitol’s windows and entering the building. One of the rioters even went and sat in the well of the Senate.
Meanwhile, several officials related to the White House and security forces have tendered resignations following the incident.
Here are the top updates of the day:
7.31 pm: A poll reveals that 45% of the Republicans actively supported the actions of those at the United States Capitol complex. The YouGov poll also shows that 93% of the Democrats and 55% of the Independents disagree with the storming.
7.23 pm: The Russian Foreign Ministry says it wishes that the “the friendly people” of the United States go through this “dramatic moment in their own history with dignity,” reports CNN. “At the same time, we once again point to the fact that the electoral system in the United States is archaic, it does not meet modern democratic standards, creating opportunities for numerous violations, and the American media have become an instrument of political struggle,” says spokesperson for the ministry, Maria Zakharova.
7.16 pm: Former Chief of the United States Capitol Police Terrance Gainer says that they failed in their duties and that someone needs to be held responsible for the incident, reports CNN. “No one was supposed to get that close to the doors and windows of the building,” Gainer said, adding that must be thoroughly investigated.
7.13 pm: A Twitter spokesperson tells CNN that United States President Donald Trump has removed the three tweets from his profile that prompted a temporary lock of his account on Wednesday. The move now paves the way for Trump to regain control of his tweeting privileges as early as on Thursday.
The official confirmation comes after the president appeared to comply with the social media platform’s requirement that he either delete the tweets or face a continued lock on his account.
7.11 pm: Mick Mulvaney, US President Donald Trump’s former chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland, has resigned from his post, according to CNN. “I called Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that,” he said. “I can’t do it. I can’t stay.”
5.21 pm: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the chaos unleashed on the United States Capitol complex by US counterpart Donald Trump’s supporters has exposed the fragility of Western democracy, reports AFP.
5.18 pm: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his countrymen are deeply disturbed and saddened by the “attack on democracy” in the United States. “Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people,” he tweets. “Democracy in the US must be upheld - and it will be.”
5.15 pm: French leader Emmanuel Macron condemns in the United States Capitol building incident, saying that one cannot give in to to the violence of a few who want to question democracy, reports AFP. “What happened today in Washington is not American,” he says in a video message on Twitter.
5.10 pm: New Hampshire Representative Annie Kuster says she was afraid for her life as protestors stormed the United States Capitol building, reports CNN. “I was frightened that it would be a mass casualty incident, that if they had automatic weapons they could have killed hundreds of members of Congress,” she said, calling it an act of “domestic terrorism.”
Recalling the moment, Kuster says that the House representatives were scrambling to hide behind the wall of the balcony. “I was trying to get my colleagues to safety, getting them behind the railing,” she adds.
5.05 pm: British Home Secretary Priti Patel says US President Donald Trump’s comments “directly led” to the violent protests at the US Capitol building, reports CNN.
“He [Trump] basically has made a number of comments yesterday that helped to fuel that violence and, you know, he didn’t do anything to de-escalate that,” Patel said. “Quite frankly the violence that we’ve seen has just been so appalling and there is no justification for it.”
5.01 pm: German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is “furious and saddened” by the violence at the UN Capitol complex, adding that President Donald Trump shares blame for the incident, reports AFP.
4.55 pm: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the rampage at the US Capitol, calling it a disgraceful act. The prime minister, however, said that he had no doubt that American democracy will prevail.
“For generations American democracy has inspired millions around the world and in Israel,” he said at a press conference. “American democracy has always inspired me. Lawlessness and violence are the opposite of the values we know Americans and Israelis cherish.”
2.27 pm: Global Times, a media organisation affiliated to China’s ruling party, draws a parallel between the violence at Capitol Hill and the 2019 protests at the Hong Kong legislature.
2.30 pm: After Biden’s victory, President Trump says the decision “represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history”. He pledges an ‘orderly transition’.
“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.”
2.22 pm: Congress affirms President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump, according to CNN.
1.19 pm: White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews resigns, reports PTI.
“As someone who worked in the halls of Congress, I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today,” says Matthews. “I will be stepping down from my role, effective immediately. Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power.”
1.17 pm: US Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger resigns, reports Bloomberg.
1.08 pm: US lawmakers vow investigation into how Capitol police handled the breach of security, resulting in vandalism in the building, reports AP.
1.05 pm: Lawmakers will resume counting Electoral College votes on Wednesday night (in US), says the country’s Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reports New York Times.
11.15 am: The Senate rejects the objection to certifying Biden’s win in Pennsylvania by 92-7.
11.12 am: Three US channels, including CNN, are reporting that members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet are discussing the possibility of removing him from the office, according to AFP.
11.09 am: Vice President Mike Pence rejects objections to Nevada and Michigan’s electoral votes. Both the objections fail to include a signature from a senator.
11.07 am: The Senate is voting on the objection of Pennsylvania’s Electoral College vote count now.
11.05 am: Republican Senator Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Josh Hawley of Missouri have objected to the counting of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, reports AP.
10.59 am: The police have arrested 52 people in connection with the violence, Reuters reports.
10.40 am: North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expresses shock over the violence. “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected,” he adds.
10.30 am: European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell Fontelles calls the incident an “unseen assault on US democracy”. “This is not America,” he says. “The election results of 3 November must be fully respected.
10.20 am: Finland Prime Minister Sanna Marin says the violence was a “very serious and worrying matter”. “It shows how important it is to defend democracy,” she adds.
10.10 am: Three people died in medical emergencies, the Washington DC Police have said, according to AP.
10 am: Stephanie Grisham, the former White House communications director and press secretary and current chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, resigns in the wake of the violent protests. White House Social Secretary Anna Cristina Niceta also follows suit.
Grisham and Niceta were among the longest-serving Trump administration officials.
“It has been an honor to serve the country in the White House,” Grisham told CNN. “I am very proud to have been a part of Mrs. Trump’s mission to help children everywhere, and proud of the many accomplishments of this Administration.”
9.50 am: Former US President Barack Obama blames Trump for the violence. For months, the outgoing US president has been trying to overturn Biden’s victory and promote conspiracy theories about election violence.
“History will rightly remember today’s violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation,” Obama says. “But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise.”
Obama, however, praises Republican leaders for speaking out against Trump. “I’ve been heartened to see many members of the President’s party speak up forcefully today,” he says. “Their voices add to the examples of Republican state and local election officials in states like Georgia who’ve refused to be intimidated and have discharged their duties honorably.”
9.30 am: Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, says Trump’s supporters should be told the truth. “The truth is that President-elect Biden won the election,” he says at the Senate. “President Trump lost. I’ve had that experience myself. It’s no fun!”
9.20 am: Trump loyalist and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham also speaks out. “Count me out, enough is enough,” he says. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected and will become the president and vice-president of the United States on January the 20th.”
9.10 am: Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth urges her colleagues to ask themselves if it was worth damaging this democracy to protect Trump. “I have no tea to throw in Boston harbour tonight,” she says. “And I regret that I have no rucksack to pack for my country, no Blackhawk to pilot... nor am I asking for any grand gesture from my Republican colleagues.”
9 am: Several Republican lawmakers speak out against the violence. “It was ugly today,” says Republican Ben Sasse, Nebraska Senator, on the Senate floor. “I don’t think we want to tell our kids that America’s best days are behind us because it’s not true – that’s not who we are.”
Republican Kelly Loeffler, who lost her Georgia Senate race, also condemns the violence. “I cannot now, in good conscience, object to the certification of these electors,” Loeffler says.
8.55 am: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says: “Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail.”
8.52 am: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the storming of the US Capitol was “very distressing”. “We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of Government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition,” he says.
8.50 am: UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir expresses concern over the violence. “The US is one of the world’s major democracies,” he tweets. “I believe that peace & respect for democratic processes will prevail in our host country at this critical time.”
8.45 am: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he was saddened by the violence. “In such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law,” Guterres says in a statement.
8.40 am: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the people of his country were “deeply saddened and distressed” by the events in the US. “Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people” he adds. “Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be.”
8.35 am: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says Trump’s supporters should “accept the decision of American voters and stop trampling on democracy”.
8.25 am: Several other world leaders and organisations have also condemned the storming of the Capitol.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress”. He too urged for “a peaceful and orderly transfer of power”. French leader Emmanuel Macron called the incident “not American”.
8.20 am: US President-elect Joe Biden calls the storming of the Capitol an insurrection and asked Trump to go on television to call an end to the “siege”.
“At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault,” he says in Wilmington. “I call on President Trump to go on national television now to... demand an end to this siege,” Biden says. “To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, the floor of the United States Senate... threatening the safety of duly elected officials? It’s not a protest, it’s insurrection.”
8.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi expresses shock at the incident and said that democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests. “Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue,” he adds.
8.10 am: After the situation was brought under control, the House reconvened. The Senate rejected a move by Trump’s allies to object to Joe Biden’s Arizona’s victory. The Senate voted 93-6 against the measure.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has won control of the Senate with two victories in the state of Georgia. This is for the first time since 2009 that Democrats will control the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively. The Georgia election was rerun because none of the candidates in the November 3 election achieved the 50% needed for victory under state rules.
8.05 am: Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the public emergency to 15 days, according to CNN. This takes the emergency declaration until the day after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. “Persons are dissatisfied with judicial rulings and the findings of State Boards of Elections, and some persons can be expected to continue their violent protests through the inauguration,” she said.
8 am: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram temporarily locked Trump’s accounts for the violation of their policies. Three of his tweets were removed. “As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,” the microblogging site said.
Twitter blocked Trump’s account for 12 hours, while Facebook stopped him from posting for 24 hours, according to Reuters.
7.55 am: In one video, the rioters were also seen attacking the media and smashing their cameras and other equipment to the ground.
7.50 am: Police in riot gear tried to secure the building with barricades, while the lawmakers put on gas masks and crouched under their desks, AP reported. The National Guard was also deployed to control the spiraling situation in Washington.
The breach prompted the police to evacuate the floor of the House. The protestors were heard banging on the doors of the House just moments before the evacuation began, according to CNN.
7.40 am: Videos on social media showed the mob shattering the Capitol’s windows and entering the building. One of the rioters even went and sat in the well of the Senate.
7.30 am: Hundreds of supporters of outgoing United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday stormed the Capitol complex in Washington DC, and clashed with the police as members of the Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential elections, CNN reports. A woman was shot dead inside the Capitol.
Trump had encouraged his supporters to stage protests, hours before the storming of the Capitol. He even promised to join them. “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol,” he was quoted as saying by CNN at a rally. “And we’re gonna cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.”