US Vice President Mike Pence stands after reading the final certification of Electoral College votes cast at the Capitol. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Congress formally certified Joe Biden as the next US president on Thursday, dealing a hammer blow to Donald Trump whose supporters stormed the Capitol hours earlier, triggering unprecedented scenes of mayhem in the seat of American democracy.
Lawmakers were resolved to complete the Electoral College tally in a display to the country, and the world, as the US Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy, a shaken Congress on Thursday formally certified Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
Before dawn on Thursday, lawmakers completed their work, confirming Biden won the election.
Vice President Mike Pence, presiding over the joint session, announced the tally, 306-232.
Vice President Mike Pence, in declaring the final vote totals behind Biden’s victory, said this “shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected president and vice president of the United States.”
Trump, who had repeatedly refused to concede the election, said in a statement immediately after the vote that there will be a smooth transition of power on Inauguration Day.
"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,” Trump said in a statement posted to Twitter by an aide.
Pro-Trump protesters react amidst a cloud of tear gas during clashes with Capitol police in Washington. Reuters
Police said four people died during the chaos - one from gunshot wounds and three from medical emergencies — and 52 people were arrested.
Some besieged the House of Representatives chamber while lawmakers were inside, banging on its doors and forcing suspension of the certification debate. Security officers piled furniture against the chamber’s door and drew their pistols before helping lawmakers and others escape.
The assault on the Capitol was the culmination of months of divisive and escalating rhetoric around the Nov.3 election, with the Republican president repeatedly making false claims that the vote was rigged and urging his supporters to help him overturn his loss.
The chaos unfolded after Trump - who before the election refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost - addressed thousands of supporters near the White House and told them to march on the Capitol to express their anger at the voting process.
He told his supporters to pressure their elected officials to reject the results, urging them “to fight.”
Some prominent Republicans in Congress strongly criticized Trump, putting the blame for the day’s violence squarely on his shoulders.
“There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney said on Twitter.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a leading conservative from Arkansas, called on Trump to accept his election loss and “quit misleading the American people and repudiate mob violence.”
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are due to take office on Jan.20.
Four people died during the chaos — one from gunshot wounds and three from medical emergencies — after hundreds of Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to overturn his election defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.
“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence said in a letter released by his office as the House prepared to vote on a non-binding resolution calling on him to utilize the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution.
And the inauguration will look different from other presidential inaugurations because of last week’s riot, with extremely tight security around the entire capital region.
The latest phase of these repatriation flights, known as the "Vande Bharat Mission," began on March 1 and will last till March 28. Slightly more than 1,350 international flights are scheduled to be operated from 28 countries in this phase, enabling an estimated 260,000 Indians to travel home.
Sheikh Hamdan took to his Instagram account and wrote, Thank you @willsmith for the bike! I named it Scotty…”
Pope Francis also urged Iraqi officials to "combat the scourge of corruption, misuse of power and disregard for law," in a country consistently ranked one of the most graft-tainted by Transparency International.