Trump Pledges 'Orderly Transition' of Power After Congress Certifies Joe Biden's Win
President Donald Trump has officially agreed to an an "orderly" transition on Jan. 20, making way for President-elect Joe Biden to be named the 46th president of the United States.
In a statement released overnight, Trump addressed the American people agreeing to a transition of power, but while still disagreeing "with the outcome of the election."
"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 after Congress certified his defeat. "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's words come after Wednesday saw unprecedented scenes in Washington, D.C.
The president had previously addressed a crowd of his supporters near the White House at a rally earlier Wednesday before encouraging them to go to Congress and voice their anger "peacefully and patriotically" — even as he described Democrats as trying to "illegally take over our country" and warned "if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore."
Motivated by the president, the rioters stormed the Capitol and were photographed scaling the building's walls, breaking windows, roaming through the building, looting and vandalizing, including in congressional chambers and lawmaker offices. Rioters also ripped an American flag off of a flagpole outside the Capitol building and replaced it with a Trump flag.
The massive mob in turn delayed the counting of the electoral votes cast in the 2020 presidential election, as lawyers were forced to evacuate the Capitol.
As the riot escalated, the National Guard was called in, and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a curfew beginning at 6 p.m., but it was hours before the building was cleared out and declared secure. The riot resulted in the death of one woman, who was identified as Ashli Babbit. She was confirmed to be the deceased by her husband Aaron, who spoke with KUSI News, and her mother-in-law, who also verified her identity to Fox 5 DC.
Amid the chaos, Biden called for an end to the violence and for Trump to call his supporters off. Throughout the day, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle condemned the rioters' violence, and former presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all spoke out.
Trump also tweeted a video about the rioters, saying "we love you, you're very special" and doubling down on the baseless claims that the election was "stolen from us" before adding "we have to have peace, so go home."
(The video has been removed or restricted from social channels including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, due to "risk of violence." Trump's social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were later locked for 24 hours. )
Vice President Mike Pence broke from Trump on Wednesday when he publicly stated he would not use his power to block Congress' confirmation of Biden as president. In a letter to Congress, Pence wrote that he believes "vesting the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide presidential contests would be entirely antithetical to" American government at its core.
Late Wednesday night, Congress later reconvened to finish the process of counting the Electoral College ballots. Pence opened the resuming session, addressing the people who "wreaked havoc" on the Capitol.
"You did not win. Violence never wins," he said. "Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house. As we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy."
"For even in the wake of unprecedented violence and vandalism at this Capitol, the elected representatives of the people of the United States have assembled again on the very same day to support and defend the Constitution of the United States," Pence added, concluding, "let's get back to work."
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