Congress Certifies Biden Win

It's finally officially official.

Almost two months after the election itself, a month after every state certified their results, and more than three weeks after the Electoral College officially cast their ballots, Congress—interrupted by a riot and some feckless Members—has finally certified Joe Biden as the next President of the United States.

Washington Post (“Congress affirms Biden’s presidential win following riot at U.S. Capitol“):

Members of Congress, shaken and angry following a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of President Trump’s supporters, put a final stamp on President-elect Joe Biden’s victory early Thursday morning and brought an end to a historically turbulent post-election period.

Republicans had at one point planned to object to the electoral college votes in a series of states won by Biden, but after the storming of the Capitol, several GOP senators changed course, disputing only Arizona and Pennsylvania. Both challenges failed.

Shortly after Congress affirmed Biden’s win, Trump pledged an “an orderly transition.” The statement, tweeted by White House social media director Dan Scavino as Trump remained locked out of his own Twitter account, stops short of conceding or congratulating Biden.

“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, noting that Congress’s action “represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history.”

More on Trump later.

The lawmakers convened Wednesday evening, after hours of delay, in a show of defiance. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she had consulted with fellow congressional leaders, the Pentagon, the Justice Department and Vice President Pence before concluding that Congress should move ahead with the ceremony interrupted earlier in the day by rioters provoked to action by Trump at a morning rally.

“Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It was anointed at the highest level of government. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden,” wrote Pelosi (D-Calif.).

As lawmakers returned to work following the riot, the tone of the debate turned more somber and impassioned than before the interruption, with a number of Republicans who had planned to slow the proceedings with objections announcing they would stand aside.

“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. This is still the people’s house,” Pence said as he formally reopened the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the rioters had tried to disrupt democracy. “They failed,” he said.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) earned sustained applause from his colleagues for a thundering speech in which he said elected leaders should show respect for voters by telling them the truth, not fueling groundless doubts about the election.

“We gather due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of supporters who he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning,” Romney said. “What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States.”

At one point early Thursday morning, the raw emotions nearly sparked a physical confrontation after Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) accused Republicans of peddling falsehoods about election fraud.

“That that attack today, it didn’t materialize out of nowhere,” Lamb said. “It was inspired by lies — the same lies that you’re hearing in this room tonight.”

That sparked an exchange of words between Republicans and Democrats sitting behind Lamb that nearly led to blows before aides intervened.

As to the actual voting:

Both chambers picked up Wednesday night where they had left off before the evacuation, considering a challenge to Biden’s 11 electoral votes in Arizona. The Senate rejected the challenge by 93 to 6 and the House by 303 to 121.

House members also objected when Pence read the tallies from Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, but those challenges died when no senators joined them.

After midnight, however, a challenge to Pennsylvania’s count, joined by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), prompted the two chambers to consider that state’s electoral vote. The Senate did not even debate before voting 92 to 7 to reject the challenge, while the House debated the full two hours ahead of a 282 to 138 vote of rejection.

The good news, such as it is, is that 7 and 138 are far smaller numbers than the number of Republicans in those bodies. But people should be shunned from polite society and hounded from office.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Congress, U.S. Constitution, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. The good news, such as it is, is that 7 and 138 are far smaller numbers than the number of Republicans in those bodies.

    Sadly, 138/211 is 65.4% of House Republicans.

    Kudos to the Senate for forgoing debate, but the fact that so many Reps were willing to object, as well as then vote to reject, after the storming of the building means we are in serious trouble because a huge chunk of the GOP thinks their primary voters wanted them to reject. And it was a tacit endorsement of the assault on the capitol.

    16
  2. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Almost half of Republicans think yesterday’s seditious insurrection was heroic and proper.

    4
  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    Winners and losers from yesterday

    Loser – American Exceptionalism, we’re no longer that shining city on the hill

    Losers – Trump, Hawley and Cruz. Hawley and Cruz saw their chance to be president evaporate.

    Winner – Mitt Romney. Mittens showed courage and patriotism when his peers flailed.

    Winner – Joe Biden Now has a Dem majority, a diminished Moscow Mitch and an R party fighting amongst themselves. It will be every R for him/herself.

    Loser – Democracy

    Loser – America.

    Winner – Stacy Abrams

    13
  4. mistermix says:

    But people should be shunned from polite society and hounded from office.

    They won’t be. They are the vanguard of the Republican Party. In the Senate, Hawley and Cruz are jockeying for position to be the nominee in 2024. They are smart and know this is the way to succeed, and both of them know that yesterday’s riot was good for their future.

    6
  5. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Sadly, 138/211 is 65.4% of House Republicans.

    Oh, absolutely. It’s shameful. But that means 44.6% of them were willing to defy the base in the face of enormous pressure from an incredibly popular (with Republicans) President.

    @Mikey:

    Almost half of Republicans think yesterday’s seditious insurrection was heroic and proper.

    I don’t know if that’s true but, judging from my Facebook feed, a lot of them are mad at Republicans for not doing more to prevent Democrats from stealing the election.

    2
  6. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t know if that’s true but, judging from my Facebook feed, a lot of them are mad at Republicans for not doing more to prevent Democrats from stealing the election.

    James, dude… how are you not connecting the dots on that one. In particular, the fact that they apparently believe that the Democrats “stole” this election.

    15
  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    I don’t know if that’s true but, judging from my Facebook feed, a lot of them are mad at Republicans for not doing more to prevent Democrats from stealing the election.

    *heavy sigh.*

    The people mad that Democrats “stole the election” by audaciously casting votes for Biden are the same people supporting insurrection. This is just a semantic disagreement.

    11
  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    Ope, I see Matt already addressed that. Sorry, I wasn’t trying to engage in a pile-on.

    4
  9. KM says:

    @James Joyner:

    willing to defy the base in the face of enormous pressure from an incredibly popular (with Republicans) President.

    Pffft, yeah 14 days before he’s gone and only because the violence came for THEM. Where was this defiance for his insanity for the last 4 years?

    No cookies for last minute turncoats, James. So 44% realized this insanity is destructive to the nation – they’ve been letting it run rampant and helped cause it. They just afraid of what happens if they’re on record supporting this traitorous behavior and the coup never goes anywhere. It’s CYA and nothing more.

    a lot of them are mad at Republicans for not doing more to prevent Democrats from stealing the election.

    So of course seeing a mob invade the seat of government is pleasing to them? Nobody stole shit and these people are cult members angry their Leader was rejected. They believe lies willingly and are fine with the destruction those lies have wrought. “Doing more” is EXACTLY what that mob tried to do. “Doing more” was always going to be destructive so what do these people think that means?

    9
  10. Jon says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t know if that’s true but […]

    It is. And apparently a majority of Republicans say Joe Biden is at least partially to blame for yesterday.

    3
  11. James Joyner says:

    @mattbernius:

    James, dude… how are you not connecting the dots on that one. In particular, the fact that they apparently believe that the Democrats “stole” this election.

    I’m not sure what dots you want me to connect. These people live in a completely different media universe than I do. They’re simply impervious to facts—including the fact that Republicans control most of the states they’re claiming stolen, the 60-odd court decisions, etc.

    1
  12. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The burning city on the hill.

    3
  13. CSK says:

    I was so hoping that son-of-a-bitch Trump would be gone when I woke up this morning. Is anyone taking steps to impeach and convict?

    2
  14. An Interested Party says:

    …a lot of them are mad at Republicans for not doing more to prevent Democrats from stealing the election.

    It is amazing how incredibly infantile some supposed adults are…from denying the reality of the election to arguments I’ve seen yesterday, last night, and this morning (“But what about BLA!?”), (“They were really Antifa!”), (“This protest was mostly peaceful!”), among other childish arguments, it’s a wonder we are a functioning society (perhaps that’s debatable), what with so many juvenile delinquents posing as adults running around…

    2
  15. drj says:

    @James Joyner:

    They’re simply impervious to facts

    They are being made impervious to facts. Because they are being fed a constant diet of bullshit. They don’t believe totally random non-facts.

    Somebody is actively doing this.

    11
  16. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m not sure what dots you want me to connect.

    What Neil said.

    The possibility that those same people could be the type of Republicans who would also see yesterday’s actions as “heroic and proper.” (again the YouGov poll – https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/2021/01/06/US-capitol-trump-poll). Once you are convinced that something has been stolen in a methodical, underhanded, “undemocratic” way (not just simply that you were outplayed) then it’s a really short jump to “we’re the new founding fathers.”

    Though I’m sure that some selection of your (slightly embarrassed) Republican Facebook connections are also trying to explain this all away as a massive Antifa thing.

    I’m especially personally cognizant of the linkage because I’ve been talking with a number of those types of folks as part of interviews I’m currently doing for Code for America. There’s one in particular that I’m having a hard time getting out of my head because the person I spoke to more or less threatened that something like this was coming.

    3
  17. Franklin says:

    Congratulations (again) to “Sleepy Joe” for beating a fascist bully, and to Ms. Harris for her place in history.

    In the meantime, anybody who says Obama embarrassed America and then voted for Trump is the new gold standard for the term “hypocrite.”

    9
  18. CSK says:

    Mick Mulvaney has resigned: “I can’t do it. I can’t stay.”

    He added that the people who are choosing to stay are staying because they think Trump might replace them with someone worse.

    He’s right.

    3
  19. KM says:

    @James Joyner:
    The first thing we need to do is call a spade a spade and stop using soft language and euphemism to describe them. You know who else lives in “a completely different media universe than you do”? Terrorists immersed in their propaganda as well as their enablers. How different is someone who attended fundamentalist madrassas and learned nothing but America is the Great Satan that must die vs someone who indulges only in FOX & Parler rants and thinks the Deep State needs to be destroyed?

    We keep dancing around the real world implication of half of the country essentially being radicalized similarly to those who join ISIS. It makes Real ‘Murica uncomfortable to point these out and their reactive defensiveness is supposed to be respected for some reason. We’re not supposed to look deeper. James, I’m going to ask you an uncomfortable question: if your FB had a lot of vocal ISIS or other terror group promoters and sympathizers, what would that indicate about yourself? What about if they were bemoaning that those groups need to “do more” and then they attacked the Capital? How would that affect your response to this incident?

    Nearly half of the country aka the GOP are cool with a terrorist attack on our seat of government because they believe false propaganda with heavy religious and political overtones yet we keep talking around it, soft peddling what they are doing. Substitute “GOP” with “ISIS” and say that sentence again. Until we stop pretending this is normal people just being temporarily deluded, we cannot address the issue.

    12
  20. @James Joyner:

    Oh, absolutely. It’s shameful. But that means 44.6% of them were willing to defy the base in the face of enormous pressure from an incredibly popular (with Republicans) President.

    I apologize for constantly being a math pedant the last couple of days, but the percentage of House Republicans who voted to reject the objection was 34.6%. That roughly 2/3rds vote for the objections and only about 1/3rd voted to uphold an obviously legitimate slate of electors is no solace to me at all.

    The Senate GOP is behaving better, but there are still too many voting to reject the voters to make me happy.

    9
  21. Pete S says:

    @James Joyner:

    Not to quibble, but if 65 percent supported the objection that means only 35 percent opposed.

    So 1 in 3 Republican House Reps showed some courage.

    The whole party is beyond redemption.

    9
  22. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    65.4% of House Rs decided that siding with clearly demented shouting at clouds Trump was in their best interest for re-election.

    Today, we came thisclose to a putsch.

    I am a positive person, but these yahoos either have to leave or shut the fuck up yo.

    Sedition can mean removal.

    Yesterday was the worst day for US democracy since the Civil War.

    Arguably worse.

    2
  23. James Joyner says:

    @mattbernius: Interesting. While I’m skeptical of snap polls on breaking stories, I think the linkage highly plausible. Especially if they saw the reports on Fox or Newsmax or another biased outlet.

    1
  24. drj says:

    @James Joyner:

    judging from my Facebook feed

    Further to my previous comment, you realize that you allow their bullshit to stand, no?

    I’m not saying that you should block these people/cut them out of your life. That’s obviously not my (or anyone else’s) choice to make.

    But if they don’t experience any negative consequences by sharing their seditious nonsense with you, you are – to some limited extent – enabling them.

    Inaction is also a choice. And such choices, too, have consequences, as Martin Niemöller once eloquently expressed. (Not implying, of course, that we’re on the immediate eve of a fascist takeover).

    4
  25. drj says:

    ETA: If you don’t push back, who will?

    They won’t change their minds spontaneously.

    2
  26. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:
    I agree with some of the concerns about snap polls. The 1/3rd to a little less than half of Republicans fits the broader trends we’ve seen across these four years.

    I had assumed you had already seen the polling as it was making its way around Twitter. Sorry I didn’t provide you with more context.

    1
  27. James Joyner says:

    @drj:

    Further to my previous comment, you realize that you allow their bullshit to stand, no?

    Oh, I constantly push back. It just doesn’t matter. They’ll occasionally acknowledge a fact when pointed out but it doesn’t change their larger view of the world.

    A more senior officer from my Army days was showing the guy in horns who was inside the Capitol, showed a picture of the same guy at some BLM protest, and posited it as proof that he’s Antifa. I pointed out a story from the Arizona Republic with his name, interviews with him, etc. proving that he’s a QAnon conspirator who’s been demonstrating for like two years. I don’t think it’ll change any minds.

    11
  28. JohnSF says:

    What are the odds that if Trump and the insurrectionist mob will try something like this again at the inauguration if he is still at liberty to do so?

    3
  29. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    Fairly high, I should think.

  30. Kathy says:

    I’d like to say it’s all over, but the sad fact is it’s not. With so many Republicans in the House backing the bogus challenges, and so many in the Senate making a big display of their timidity, Biden’s election will remain artificially controversial well past his time in office.

    2
  31. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Well, whoop-de-doo! Reality finally arrived in GOP-land. And still most of them flunked the test.

    I’ve watched the Lincoln Project guys’ twitter feeds this morning and I think they’re rather annoyed at these traitors. And the traitors are going to feel the pain in the next couple of years.

    5
  32. de stijl says:

    A person who studiously avoids with, let’s pick one – R attempts at voter suppression – for decades has a baked in blind spot even when he drops his flags.

    2
  33. charon says:

    @mattbernius:

    Fox News (and others, redstate etc.) is pushing the Antifa false flag copout really hard.

    Many examples here (and elsewhere):

    https://mobile.twitter.com/atrupar

    1
  34. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    While I’m skeptical of snap polls on breaking stories

    At Nicholas Grossman’s suggestion (via twitter) I went back and did a close read of the poll questions. On review, the one that is getting the most attention is really poorly written. In particular, it has the problem of more or less being a “double-barrelled” question (able to be interpreted as asking two questions at once).

    So that could have led to higher positive rate than asking the questions separately would have warranted.

    That said, anything above 0 is still way too high.

    1
  35. charon says:

    @charon:

    https://twitter.com/KT_So_It_Goes/status/1346981087029825536

    an unsung hero here today is the remarkable discipline of counter protesters to know to stay the fuck away from this septic tank fire. the MAGA terrorists wanted an enemy and instead of a messy who-fought-who narrative they attacked the cops and our entire government

    5
  36. Jay L Gischer says:

    @charon: The thing about the false-flag narrative (should I say lie? Probably) is that it shows that what happened actually embarrasses them. Even though they might not admit it to a pollster, even.

    1
  37. An Interested Party says:

    And the traitors are going to feel the pain in the next couple of years.

    Are they? Who will be providing that pain? If they slink into the fever swamps of the Right they should do just fine…

    3
  38. charon says:

    The thing about the false-flag narrative (should I say lie? Probably) is that it shows that what happened actually embarrasses them.

    @Jay L Gischer:

    They invoke Antifa whenever anything embarrasses them, it’s their Emmanuel Goldstein, all-purpose demon.

    5
  39. Jay L Gischer says:

    @James Joyner:

    A more senior officer from my Army days was showing the guy in horns who was inside the Capitol, showed a picture of the same guy at some BLM protest, and posited it as proof that he’s Antifa. I pointed out a story from the Arizona Republic with his name, interviews with him, etc. proving that he’s a QAnon conspirator who’s been demonstrating for like two years. I don’t think it’ll change any minds.

    This story chills me to the bone. It’s more Flynn. I would have thought being an Army guy would get your feet very solidly on the ground. I guess not.

    3
  40. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner:

    Oh, absolutely. It’s shameful. But that means 44.6% of them were willing to defy the base in the face of enormous pressure from an incredibly popular (with Republicans) President.

    It probably means they come from purple districts, and nothing more. Just as Mitt’s “courage” flows from having an odd Mormon GOP base that isn’t particularly Trumpy.

    1
  41. Mikey says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I would have thought being an Army guy would get your feet very solidly on the ground.

    I spent most of my military career working closely with the Army. While most did have their feet solidly on the ground, there was a non-trivial number of soldiers who were, to put it plainly, batshit crazy.

    The issue I have with many of my former military co-workers now is how accommodating they are of Trump’s worst authoritarian impulses.

    2
  42. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mikey: Yeah, I would have thought that bullshit dies very quickly in battle. But apparently, there’s no consequences to being wrong in the sense of believing Q.

  43. gVOR08 says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I’ve read some accounts of German troops late in WWII. Tactically they were pretty grounded. But politically a lot of them were pretty naive right up to the end. Nazi ideology, like Trumpism, was a hot mess that made no sense, but a lot of them died believing it.

    1
  44. Jay L Gischer says:

    @James Joyner:

    Oh, I constantly push back. It just doesn’t matter. They’ll occasionally acknowledge a fact when pointed out but it doesn’t change their larger view of the world.

    I know you do. I’m faced with this sort of thing, too. I think of how I respond to it more as “bearing witness” than “pushing back”. Pushing back implies a struggle. If you push, they will push harder.

    Granted, progress is slow. I feel I accomplish one thing at least. To describe that, I need to look at a social psychology experiment. If you, for instance, gather a roomful of people and say, show them a card with a color on it, and ask each one in turn what color it is, and you go around the room and each one, unbeknownst to the last person, who is the subject, says that the red color on the card is blue, because they are all shills, put there for the purpose of carrying out the experiment, it is highly likely that the last person – the subject of the experiment – will also say that the red color on the card is blue.

    However, if there is even one other person in the group who says it is red, then the subject will most likely also say it is red, and ignore the social pressure.

    So that’s the thing you provide by “bearing witness”. You are that one guy who says the red card is red, not blue. This doesn’t require “stronger language”, just getting your feet on the ground. You don’t have to say “this is treason”, it’s fine to say, “I’m pretty sure that if I were to force my way into the Capital demanding that Congress do my bidding, I’d be thrown in jail. If I were to wave a gun around, I’d expect to be shot”.

    They are carried away by emotion, and I see my job – “bearing witness” – being anti-emotion, not trying to overwhelm their emotion with my even bigger emotion. I think you want to be calming and soothing so that their cognitive capabilities switch back on line.

    This doesn’t work fast, but what does? Nothing I’ve seen. You can scare people and make them run away, but I’m not sure that’s the goal here.

    1