It took a day of unprecedented chaos in Washington, D.C. It took hundreds of his supporters storming the Capitol, looting art, vandalizing Nancy Pelosi’s office, and briefly taking control of the Senate chamber. It took one woman being shot and killed by Capitol Police and three others dying. It took dozens of arrests. And it took Congress finally approving Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election at 3:45 a.m. Thursday morning.
It took all that before President Donald Trump finally issued a statement promising what he described as an “orderly transition of power.”
But just like his weak call for supporters to "go home," the day before, Trump could not miss an opportunity to once again falsely claim the election was stolen from him.
“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's statement reads. “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 craven statement was not even issued directly by the president himself but by his social media director after Twitter and Facebook suspended his accounts for inciting violence and spreading misinformation.
The full fallout from Wednesday’s insurrection won’t be known for some time, but police in Washington confirmed Thursday morning that four people died at the Capitol on Wednesday.
One woman was shot by Capitol police after breaching barricades while trying to enter the building and later died in hospital. Police said the other three people died of “medical emergencies.”
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on Wednesday, and in total police arrested 52 people, though many have questioned why more of those who stormed the Capitol were not arrested. The FBI and the National Guard were drafted late on Wednesday to help clear people from the streets.
Law enforcement officials told CNN that at least two suspected pipe bombs were made safe in the city on Wednesday. One of the devices was found outside a building that houses Republican National Committee offices and one outside a Democratic National Committee building.
About six hours after abandoning the process due to the violence, Vice President Mike Pence resumed certifying the Electoral College votes at 8 p.m. Wednesday evening.
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win,” Pence said in stark contrast to Trump’s praise for the mob. “Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house.”
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell called the act a “failed insurrection,” adding: “They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed.”
While McConnell didn’t blame Trump directly for the riot, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney wasn’t so cautious.
“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 after the chamber reconvened. “What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States.”
And yet, there were several senators and representatives who continued to back Trump’s coup attempt by objecting to the electoral college votes when Pence resumed counting.
The objections were much smaller than expected after some lawmakers balked at trying to undermine Biden's victory following the scenes witnessed on Capitol Hill.
Still, the Senate and the House were forced to debate an objection to Pennsylvania’s results from Sen. Josh Hawley and 80 House representatives in the early hours of Thursday morning. The objection, just like the one to Arizona’s results on Wednesday, was overwhelmingly defeated.
In the end, at almost 4 a.m. on Thursday morning, Congress certified Biden's victory over Trump by 306-232 electoral votes. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated Jan. 20.