Supporters of outgoing Republican President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol Wednesday as lawmakers were preparing to count Electoral College votes ahead of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, in what can only be described as an attack on the country's democratic process.
The anarchy at the Capitol Wednesday afternoon — which so far has seen lawmakers evacuated, rioters in the Senate chamber, at least one person shot and Confederate flags carried through the Capitol building 155 years after the end of the Civil War — followed a speech by Trump that saw him repeating lies that he won the presidential election and encouraging the assembled crowd at the “Stop The Steal” rally to go to the Capitol.
Chaos At US Capitol: Capitol Police were quickly overwhelmed, and the image of white rioters mounting an unprecedented insurrection at the seat of the nation’s government stands in stark contrast to the law enforcement response to Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington last summer.
On June 1, police used weapons including tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters ahead of a Trump photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a strict curfew order beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday and lasting through 6 a.m. Thursday.
An NBC correspondent reports the person who was shot has died.
Markets Remain Calm: Despite the attack on the country’s democratic process, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both ended Wednesday’s session higher by 0.57% and 1.44%, respectively. The Nasdaq was down 0.61% at 12,740.79.
The U.S. Capitol was breached today for the first time since 1814, when the British attacked it and set it on fire during the war of 1812, according to the director of scholarship and operations with the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. How shameful.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 6, 2021
Biden, Trump On Coup Attempt: “At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” Biden said in televised remarks from Wilmington, Delaware.
The President-elect said Trump should “step up” and call for an end to the siege.
“The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy, decency, honor, respect and the rule of law,” Biden said.
Trump issued a video statement from the White House that called rioters "very special" and repeated the lie that he won reelection.
“You have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order,” he said.
Pence, McConnell Defy Trump: Before lawmakers were evacuated, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke against attempts to overturn the results of the November election.
"The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken," McConnell said, according to CNN.
"If we overrule them all, it would damage our republic forever … if this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We'd never see the whole nation accept an election again."
Vice President Mike Pence issued a statement ahead of the Electoral College vote count — a joint session of Congress that the vice president oversees — stating that he would not attempt to subvert the election, as Trump has vehemently encouraged him to do.
"It is my considered judgment that 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," Pence said in a statement to lawmakers.
Pence’s role in the Electoral College vote count has led to a rift with Trump, who attacked him in speeches this week and on Twitter.
Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
Democrats Take Control Of Congress With Georgia Runoff: The chaos in Washington occurred against the backdrop of a loss of Republican control of the Senate Wednesday, as Democrat Jon Ossoff bested Republican David Perdue and Democrat Raphael Warnock outran Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a Tuesday runoff election.
This creates a 50-50 split in the Senate, with the tiebreaking vote held by incoming Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris.
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