WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory early Thursday morning, Jan. 7 while fears of a repeat of the violence seen at the Capitol the day before are leading to increased security for next week’s swearing in.
The following week saw the U.S. House of Representatives approve a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.
Pence declined and on Wednesday, Jan. 13, enough House members had cast a vote in favor of an article of impeachment against Trump as of the Kent County News’ press time to move the action forward. This would be the first time in the nation’s history a president was impeached twice.
The election certification came after Capitol Hill was locked down during riots that saw pro-Trump protesters inside the Senate chamber and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Six deaths, including two Capitol Police officers, have been tied to the insurrection.
“Today is a reminder, a painful one, that democracy is fragile. To preserve it requires people of good will, leaders with the courage to stand up, who are devoted not to pursuit of power and personal interest at any cost, but to the common good,” Biden said on Jan. 6.
Both chambers reconvened that night and certified Biden’s win over President Donald Trump in the early morning hours.
“What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent — it was disorder. They weren’t protesters — they were rioters, insurrectionists and domestic terrorists,” Biden said on Jan. 7.
Maryland lawmakers condemned the Capitol protests which came after Trump held a big rally in front of the White House disputing Biden’s win.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said he sent 200 Maryland State Police troopers to D.C. along with 500 National Guard troops in response to the unrest in D.C.
“All Americans should be outraged by this attack on our nation’s Capitol. This is a heinous and violent assault on the heart of our democracy. I will not stand for this, and neither should any American,” Hogan said.
U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, both D-Md., condemned the overrunning of the Capitol and faulted Trump for his fiery rhetoric saying the election was “rigged” and “stolen.”
“This violent behavior and blatant disregard of the law can never be normalized in the United States of America. Never,” said Cardin in a statement.
Van Hollen pointed to some of the dramatic images of the protests.
“One image at the Capitol captured the essence of the mob attack on our democracy: a rioter replacing an American flag with a Trump flag. This attack must be a wake-up call to GOP senators who have been complicit in Trump’s contempt for our Constitution,” Van Hollen said.
On Jan. 7, Trump said he would work to ensure a peaceful transition to a Biden administration.
“This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” Trump said.
That speech marked the first time Trump has acknowledged Biden’s victory. Trump had previously kept up contentions Biden won battleground states because of voter fraud and the counting of illegal mail-in votes.
He did so before and during the insurrection at the Capitol.
“We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side,” Trump said in video from the Rose Garden in which he told rioters to go home.
On Jan. 7, Biden said if the pro-Trump protesters who stormed the Capitol had been Black Lives Matter advocates there would have been very different reactions from police.
“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesters yesterday that they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob that stormed the Capitol.” Biden.
U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st, is facing criticism and calls to resign for continuing to push election objections after the riot at the Capitol.
Some critics are calling for Harris and other Trump supporters who backed objections to Biden’s win to resign or be expelled from Congress. The Maryland Democratic Party has specifically called for Harris to step down.
“I have routinely and consistently rejected violent protests, whether in the case of yesterday, or last summer. Democrats are calling for unity, yet also calling for the expulsion of Members who objected in yesterday’s Electoral College count. Today, some Marylanders are even calling for my resignation, which I will not do,” Harris said in a statement on Thursday, Jan 7.
It also has been widely reported that Harris was involved in a scuffle with a Democratic congressman in the House when Congress reconvened to certify the Electoral College vote.
“My colleagues and I held legitimate Constitutional concerns about how the November election was conducted in certain states and felt compelled to highlight those concerns during the formal vote count. We did not call for the overthrowing of an election. Joe Biden will be president on January 20th. Some of my colleagues, including those still in the Maryland delegation, offered objections in 2017 when counting the electoral votes for President Trump. Congress is afforded the right to count, and object, to electoral votes, which we utilized yesterday to highlight concerns we had regarding the November election. There was nothing treasonous or seditious about it in 2017, nor this year,” Harris said in a statement Jan. 7.
A group of state legislators penned a letter calling for Harris to step down.
“Rather than recognizing that your words and behavior in office have damaged our democracy, have threatened our Constitution, and have undermined the nation you are sworn to, your response to the attack on our Capitol was to continue to use the same words and behavior. To vote with too many of your colleagues to undermine a free and fair election. To give comfort to the enemies of democracy within our borders and around the world,” the letter reads.
Harris has said he will not resign and defended the challenges while condemning the overrunning of the Capitol building.
Social media platforms — including Facebook and Twitter — have banned Trump after the chaotic protests in D.C.
A White House spokesman issued a statement from Trump Jan. 7, saying he would abide by the 2020 results.
“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. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!,” Trump said portending a run again in 2024.
Cardin, Van Hollen and Hogan are among those who want Trump out of office immediately.
“I think there is no question that America would be better off if the president resigned or would be removed from office,” Hogan said during a Jan. 7 briefing in Annapolis.
Van Hollen said each day Trump remains in office is “a ticking time bomb aimed at the heart of our democracy.”
“Moreover, we must establish a clear precedent that this kind of seditious conduct is unacceptable. That is why I support his immediate removal from office,” Van Hollen said.
“Despite President Trump’s calls for insurrection, his contempt for the Constitution, and his lawless conduct, our institutions and the will of the American people held firm. But every day Trump remains in office presents a grave danger to our republic,” Van Hollen said on Jan. 7.
Cardin echoed the same sentiment.
“We cannot wait 13 days. President Trump must resign or be removed from office quickly — either through the 25th Amendment or by impeachment — before he does even more damage to our nation,” Cardin said last week.
Pence sent a letter dated Jan. 12 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat representing California who is a Baltimore native, dismissing the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment.
“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence wrote. “I pledge to you that I will continue to do my part to work in good faith with the incoming administration to ensure an orderly transition of power. So help me God.”
Articles of impeachment are being filed in the House against Trump. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.-8th, is one of the primary sponsors.
Raskin said there are more than 200 cosponsors to the impeachment, contending that Trump incited an insurrection.
“This is an intolerable crime against our constitution,” Raskin said in a statement.
Raskin joins those who call for Trump’s immediate removal from office.
“The President continues to pose a clear and present danger to the people and our Republic. He incited an insurrectionist mob to join a ‘wild’ disruption of the peaceful transfer of power at the Capitol. Violence & death followed,” Raskin tweeted Jan. 8.
Harris opposes a late-term impeachment of Trump.
The House previously impeached Trump in late Dec. 2019 but that effort failed in the U.S. Senate.
“Another impeachment would be another waste of time. We have serious issues in front of the country to be dealt with,” Harris said in a statement days before the Jan. 13 vote. “The last time we took up an impeachment sham we wasted time last winter when we could’ve been watching out for the coronavirus coming from China.“