By Arul Louis, (IANS) After a deadly attack on the citadel of American democracy, Congress defiantly resumed its constitutional task of tallying the electoral colleges votes to plant the final seal on Joe Biden’s election as the 46th US President and Kamala Harris as Vice President.
Sitting President Donald Trump was roundly condemned for his role in instigating the rioters on Wednesday who stormed the Capitol, the domed building that houses Congress, resulting in the death of a woman from gunfire inside it and sending members of Congress to seek refuge in secure areas when mobs invaded.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party’s leader in the Senate, said: “We have never been deterred before, we’ll be not deterred today. They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed.”
Democratic Party’s Senate leader Chuck Schumer said: “This temple to democracy was desecrated.”
Speaking to CBS TV, Indian-American Representative Pramila Jayapal called for impeaching Trump, even though he would be in power for two more weeks.
The mobs that overran the security and entered the Capitol, crashing into the Senate chamber, were repulsed by National Guard ordered in by Vice President Mike Pence and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) SWAT teams.
The unprecedented chaos also left a woman dead from gunfire. It was still yet to be ascertained who the victim was or who shot her.
The chambers of the Democrat-led House of Representatives and the Republican-majority Senate were swiftly cleaned and swept for bombs and ammunition for the legislators to return.
Trump has refused to accept the results of the November 3, 2020, election, claiming that he defeated through widespread fraud even after more than 50 legal challenges were thrown out by courts at different levels.
He called a rally of supporters before Congress was to hold its joint session to tally the results and declared that he would “never concede” his defeat to Biden and unleashed a wave of anger saying: “This year, they rigged an election. They rigged it like they’ve never rigged an election before.”
And then he exhorted them: “After this, we’re going to walk down there (to the Capitol)… and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and Congressmen and women (who object to Biden’s election).”
Thousands of his supporters shouting “Trump” and “USA, USA”, marched from there to the Capitol launching their assault after the joint session adjourned following objections against Arizona’s electoral college votes and the Senate and the House began to meet separately to consider the issue.
Several rioters also scaled the walls and smashed windows to enter the building.
They overwhelmed the police and pushed the barriers around the Capitol and rushed in.
The rioters reached all the way into the Senate chamber, from where Vice President was hustled away by security.
A rioter was seen on tweets sitting in the chair of the Senate President and on TV people with Trump flags and placards were shown wandering around the chamber.
Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi were taken out by security to a secure place.
Jayapal was trapped in the House gallery and she recounted on CBS TV how she and a few colleagues could not leave the area while they heard shouts and gunshots outside.
On the House floor, she said that she saw Pelosi being taken out and the security barricading the doors from outside.
Biden has demanded that Trump go on national television to ask his supporters to end the siege and withdraw from the Capitol. “President Trump, step up,” he said.
Shortly afterward, Trump put out a video tweet asking his supporters to go home and saying that they would play in to the hands of his opponents.
He tweeted: “I am asking for everyone at the US Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order a” respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue (law enforcement uniforms). Thank you.”
Biden and others, including members of Trump’s own party, blamed Trump for the violence that threatened the democratic process.