Congress has formally validated Joe Biden’s presidential election victory on a day that saw a time-honoured ceremony become a nightmare of unprecedented political upheaval.
The House and Senate certified the Democrat’s electoral college win early Thursday (local time) after a violent throng of pro-Trump rioters spent hours Wednesday running rampant through the Capitol.
President Trump acknowledged defeat for the first time, promising an orderly transfer of power but continued to describe his term as the “greatest first term in presidential history”.
Temporarily banned from all social media platforms for inciting violence and spouting baseless lies, the president of the United States was forced to put out a statement through others.
Trump released a statement through White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino’s Twitter account.
“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.
“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!” Scavino tweeted.
On Wednesday a woman was fatally shot, three others died from medical emergencies, windows were bashed and the mob forced shaken lawmakers and aides to flee the building, shielded by Capitol Police.
The rampage began shortly after President Donald Trump repeated his unfounded claims of election fraud to thousands of rallying demonstrators he’d invited to Washington.
Many then surged to the Capitol after he incited them to go there as lawmakers debated the electoral votes.
More than six hours after the violence erupted, lawmakers resumed their session.
Thirteen Republican senators and dozens of GOP representatives had planned to force debate and votes on perhaps six different states’ votes.
The assault on the Capitol made some Republicans squeamish about trying to overturn Biden’s win, and challenges were lodged only against Arizona and Pennsylvania. Both efforts lost overwhelmingly.
Biden defeated Trump by 306-232 electoral votes and will be inaugurated January 20.
Vice President Mike Pence presided over the formal session that ended early on Thursday morning tallying the electoral college vote.
Trump, who had encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol to protest lawmakers' actions, on Wednesday expressed empathy for the mob which violently forced its way inside, clashed with police and forced lawmakers into hiding.
"These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long," Trump wrote in a message that was later deleted by Twitter.
He added, "Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"
In an earlier video he had praised the protesters as "special" people and said he understood their pain.
Most Republicans, as well an many staff, have since distanced themselves from the outgoing president.
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