President Donald Trump released a statement during the early morning hours on Thursday committing to the peaceful transition of power after Congress formally certified Democrat Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, officially making him President-elect of the United States.
The president’s statement comes after what started as a protest rally turned into chaos that ended up with the National Guard being deployed to restore order at the Capitol.
“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 in a statement. “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!”
…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!”
— Dan Scavino🇺🇸🦅 (@DanScavino) January 7, 2021
Trump’s statement follows the formal certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory, presided over by Vice President Mike Pence. When the certification process, which was disrupted for several hours due to the chaos at the Capitol, was restarted, Pence began by condemning the violence that erupted and praising law enforcement for taking control of the situation.
“Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol,” said the vice president (video below). “But thanks to the swift efforts of U.S. Capitol police, federal, state, and local law enforcement, the violence was quelled. The Capitol is secured, and the people’s work continues. We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms. We grieve the loss of life in these hallowed halls, as well as the injuries suffered by those who defended our Capitol today. And we will always be grateful for the men and women who stayed at their post to defend this historic place.”
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins,” he continued. “And this is still the people’s house. And 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. So may God bless the lost, the injured, and the heroes forged on this day. May God bless all who served here and those who protect this place. And may God bless the United States of America. Let’s get back to work.”
And we will always be grateful for the men and women who stayed at their post to defend this historic place. To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the People's House. pic.twitter.com/ytErRKnk4O
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) January 7, 2021
Ahead of the certification vote, Trump called on Pence to block the certification, but the vice president announced in a statement to Congress on Wednesday that he did not have the “unilateral authority” to take such an action.
“As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority,” he said. “Instead, Vice Presidents presiding over Joint Sessions have uniformly followed the Electoral Count Act, conducting the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy.”
This article has been expanded to more context, including Pence’s remarks.