WASHINGTON – President Trump is promising a peaceful transition of power after a dramatic day on Capitol Hill.
"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 stated.
Despite one of the most tumultuous days in the history of the United States Capitol, lawmakers, determined to do their duty, worked into the early morning hours Thursday to count each state's votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
The turbulence began Wednesday after President Trump addressed thousands of supporters and called on Vice President Mike Pence to disqualify some state's electoral votes.
"If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election," said Trump.
At almost the same time, Pence, who is the president of the Senate, released a statement refusing to do so:
"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."
That was followed by a moving speech from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on why it would be wrong to overturn the electoral results.
"The voters, the courts and the states, they've all spoken," said McConnell on the Senate floor. "They've all spoken. If we overrule them. It would damage our republic forever."
Still, a group of Republican House and Senate members went forward with their objections to state electors, beginning with Arizona.
That's when the chaos ensued. Lawmakers were hunkered down behind locked doors and armed guards and told to don gas masks before being evacuated from the building.
Hours later, after the Capitol was cleared, leaders announced they would re-gather in the evening to finish the job.
"To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win," said Vice President Mike Pence as he opened the process once again.
Several lawmakers withdrew their objections to certification.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) commended them for their move towards unity. "The best way we can show respect for the voters who were upset is by telling them the truth," said Romney. "That's the burden. That's the duty of leadership."
Not all lawmakers dropped their objections though so the debate continued into the early morning hours before votes were finally certified.
President-elect Biden will be sworn into office on January 20th.
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