Trump Finally 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 following Congress' affirmation of Biden's victory Wednesday night.
Biden's victory became official overnight, after a day in which pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an unprecedented moment of violent insurrection, causing a delay in the vote counting.
In a statement released overnight, Trump addressed the American people agreeing to a transition of power, while still saying he disagrees "with the outcome of the election" and referencing his baseless claims of voter fraud.
"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, according to CNN. "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's mayhem in Washington, D.C. — which was largely incited by the president himself and his false claims of voter fraud.
Before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump addressed a crowd near the White House, encouraging them to go to Congress. Though he told them to voice their anger "peacefully and patriotically," he claimed Democrats were 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 lawymakers 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 fatal shooting of one woman, who was identified as Ashli Babbit, and three other deaths that were not homicides.
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.
But hours after the Capitol had been breached, Trump delayed directly telling his supporters to leave the building, tweeting first, "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!"
Finally, in a taped statement posted to his Twitter account at 4:17 p.m., Trump instructed rioters to leave peacefully, saying, "You have to go home now, we have to have peace." But he also told the rioters, "We love you, you're very special" and doubled down on the baseless claims that the election was "stolen from us."
(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 also temporarily locked.)
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 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.
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"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."