Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell Denounce Violence as Lawmakers Reconvene at the Capitol Building
As lawmakers returned to Congress Wednesday night after the Capitol building was stormed by a Donald Trump-supporting mob, Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denounced the rioters' violence.
Pence opened the resuming session, addressing the people who "wreaked havoc" on the Capitol.
"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."
"They tried to disrupt our democracy," McConnell said of the "unhinged crowd," turning to look at other lawmakers silently listening on. "They failed."
"This failed insurrection only proves how crucial the task before us is for our republic," McConnell said, underscoring the importance of the peaceful transition of power in the U.S. He added: "Now we're going to finish exactly what we started. We'll complete the process the right way, by the book, we'll follow our precedents and our laws, and our constitution to the letter. And we will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer then spoke, saying that "January 6 will go down as one of the darkest days in modern American history," adding that it’s a “final warning” amid Trump and his supporters' assault on democracy.
“While we [Congress members] disagree on things and disagree strongly at times, we do not encourage what happened today,” said Sen. James Lankford, a Republican who was interrupted mid-sentence when rioters broke into the Capitol earlier in the day. “Not ever.”
"We are headed tonight towards the certification of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States," Lankford said.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a fierce Trump loyalist who lost her runoff election in Georgia Tuesday night, said she “fully intended” to object to the electoral count earlier in the day. However, after the earlier riots, she said, “I cannot in good conscience” move forward with the objection.
In the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi also addressed the rioting, saying, "we will not be diverted from our duty."
"To those who strove to deter us from our responsibility: you have failed," she said. "To those who engaged in the gleeful desecration to this, our temple of democracy, American democracy, justice will be done."
Earlier on Wednesday, Pence called for rioters to leave and said that "those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
People in the mob were photographed scaling the Capitol'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. Amid the rioting, a woman was shot and later died.
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