US President Donald Trump has released a statement promising an ‘orderly transition’ of the presidency to Joe Biden on 20 January, but has repeated his unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud. It follows the storming of the US Capitol on Wednesday by a mob of his most extreme supporters, which left four people dead.
US lawmakers formally certified Biden as the winner of the November presidential election on Thursday morning. Current Republican Vice President Mike Pence certified the Electoral College count of 306 in favour of Biden against 232 for Trump.
On Wednesday, Trump had told the crowd at a ‘Save America’ rally that he would ‘never concede’ the 2020 election, urging supporters to gather at the Capitol building to support the Republican lawmakers who had vowed to challenge Biden’s victory.
A large crowd of Trump supporters fought with Capitol police and security guards, then forced their way into the building, smashing windows and climbing over the outside walls. The National Guards of several nearby US states were mobilised to provide support against the mob.
Washington DC police have said that four people died during the siege. One woman was shot by police and died later in hospital. Three others died as a result of ‘medical emergencies’. More than 50 people have so far been arrested.
Trump had issued another message on Wednesday evening, in which he repeated his false claim that the election was stolen. He also asked supporters to ‘stay peaceful’. Several hours later he issued a video on social media, calling for the crowd to ‘go home’ before adding, ‘We love you. You’re very special.’
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube removed the video from their platforms over Trump’s false election claim. Twitter said his account would be locked for the next 12 hours and has threatened him with ‘permanent suspension’. Facebook announced it would block him from posting for 24 hours.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted on Thursday that the attack on the US Capitol ‘only succeeded in reaffirming the principles we share. Spain will work with the United States for a more just world and the triumph of democracy over extremism.’
The US Congress ratifies the victory of @JoeBiden after a fateful day. Yesterday's attack on Capitol Hill has only succeeded in reaffirming the principles we share. Spain will work with the United States for a more just world and the triumph of democracy over extremism.
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) January 7, 2021
Here we publish a video from The Guardian newspaper, showing scenes of the mob storming Capitol Hill: