The United States Congress officially confirmed President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election early Thursday. The confirmation process was halted for hours Wednesday when extremist supporters of President Donald Trump attacked and occupied the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Resignations, calls for Trump removal
A growing number of Democratic Party lawmakers and some Republicans are now calling for Trump to be removed from office, 13 days before his term ends on Jan. 20.
Democratic Party Senate leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, “The quickest and most effective way—it can be done today—to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress must reconvene to impeach President Trump.”
Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger added, “with a heavy heart I am calling for the sake of our Democracy that the 25th Amendment be invoked.”
The 25th Amendment permits a replacement for a sitting president who cannot perform “the powers and duties of his office.”
Vice President Mike Pence and the majority of the Cabinet would have to declare Trump unfit. Then, they would send a letter to the speaker of the House and president pro tempore of the Senate saying so. The vice president then becomes acting president.
Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. She joined the call for Trump’s removal. She added, “If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment."
Several members of the Trump administration, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and the first lady’s chief of staff, have also resigned in the hours since the attack.
Trump agrees to “orderly transition”
Pence, who presided over the joint session of Congress, announced that Biden had won the Electoral College vote early Thursday morning. The count was 306 to 232.
Trump has refused to accept the election results and urged his supporters Wednesday to march to the Capitol. However, after Pence confirmed the winner, Trump released a statement.
He said, “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.”
The statement was posted on the Twitter account of a presidential assistant. Twitter and Facebook had suspended Trump’s personal accounts following the violence at the Capitol.
Trump supporters halted vote count
On Wednesday, a pro-Trump mob of thousands marched to the Capitol after Trump spoke to the group near the White House. The mob broke through metal barriers, pushed past police officers, broke windows and climbed up the sides of the building.
As lawmakers were led to safety, the rioters marched through the famous Rotunda area. They carried signs and shouted that Trump had won the election. Police officers blocked the door to the House of Representatives. The violence resulted in four deaths including one rioter who was shot inside the Capitol.
Lawmakers returned to work Wednesday night, after the Capitol was secured. Pence reopened the Senate, telling the attackers, “You did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. This is still the people’s house.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added, "They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed.”
The riots led several Republicans to drop their expected objections to electors for Biden.
Senator Mitt Romney of Utah was the Republican Party candidate in the 2012 presidential election. He blamed Trump for the attack.
“What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States, ” he said, adding, “The best way we could show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth.”
I'm Caty Weaver.
Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
reconvene - v. to meet again after a break
bear out - phrasal verb, to show that something is true
disrupt - v. to interrupt an activity
insurrection - n. a usually violent attempt to take control of the government
upset - adj. angry or unhappy