Speed Reads

Drama in D.C.

Congress, Pence certify Joe Biden's presidential victory

Just after 3:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, with Vermont's three electoral votes ratified in a joint session of Congress, President-elect Joe Biden surpassed the 270 Electoral College votes needed to officially become the next president. About 10 minutes later, after Wyoming's three votes were accepted, Vice President Mike Pence, in his ceremonial role as president of the Senate, read out the totals, finalizing Biden's electoral victory and President Trump's loss.

Trump had publicly and privately cajoled Pence into trying to somehow overturn Biden's win, but Pence does not have that authority and did not try to claim it. When Pence made that clear Wednesday afternoon, as the electoral vote count began, a pro-Trump mob marched to the Capitol, broke through barriers and pushed past police, and violently occupied the House and Senate chambers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office, and other off-limits areas. Four people died.

When Congress reconvened Wednesday night, the House and Senate considered objections to the electoral tallies in Arizona and Pennsylvania. After hours of debate, both objections were shot down by wide margins.