Congress met in a joint session Wednesday, to perform what is tantamount to a formality, and, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, approve Electoral College votes reported by the states. The process occurs every four years and usually doesn’t take long.
But Wednesday was anything but normal. Senate and House members had left the joint session to debate in their respective chambers following an objection to balloting in Arizona. It was during that time that things went from unusual to unprecedented.
The nation watched in shock and dismay as frenzied supporters of President Donald Trump, carrying his campaign flags and acting at his behest following a rally, overran U.S. Capitol Police and forced their way into the white-domed center of our democracy.
The Capitol was breached by a hostile force for the first time since 1814, when the British attacked and burned the venerable edifice.
Calling a rapid recess, Congress members and their staffs were rushed into hiding as the crowd smashed windows and doors, destroyed property and made their way to the House and Senate chambers.
In the chaos that followed, the intruders roamed the halls of power, entering offices, looting items like podiums and even sitting in Vice President Mike Pence’s chair in the Senate Chamber before authorities were able to oust them and secure the Capitol.
Resolute lawmakers reconvened later in the day, with Republicans and Democrats alike condemning the melee and offering words of collegiality and mutual respect.
Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump supporter from South Carolina, urged his colleagues to cease with their objections, saying, “enough is enough.”
In the early hours of the morning Thursday, all of the electoral votes from all of the states were certified as the states had reported them, assuring the installment of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president in two weeks.
But the beast that Trump created, fed and unleashed may end up consuming him in the waning days of his presidency. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has called on Trump’s Cabinet to remove him from office, saying in a statement that the attack on the Capitol “was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president.”
Schumer said Pence and the Cabinet should invoke the 25th Amendment and immediately eject Trump.
Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said if the president wasn’t unseated, he may be impeached a second time.
Trump has tested the limits of power at every turn over the past four years. The swamp he brags about draining has only deepened and grown more foul during his tenure. We can only hope and pray that he doesn’t do anything rash that could jeopardize the security of the United States or the safety of Americans elsewhere in the world until his time in office ends, one way or another.