Even before the echo of flash-bang grenades and gunfire had stilled in the halls of the U.S. Capitol, the fallout from Wednesday’s mob attack on the seat of America’s government was beginning to settle.
As of Thursday evening, two members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet had tendered their resignations. The men responsible for security at the Capitol — the sergeants-at-arms for both houses of Congress along with the chief of the Capitol Police — are out. The Trump administration is seeing a flurry of resignations from multiple departments.
But the legislators accomplished the task that was interrupted Wednesday when thousands of pro-Trump rioters made their way from a rally on the Ellipse to Capitol Hill and overran barricades, breaking windows and doors to occupy the Capitol building.
Around 2:30 Thursday morning, the electoral votes from the 2020 election were certified and accepted, making Joseph Robinette Biden the incoming president of the United States, with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.
Shortly after the results were official, Trump tweeted, by way of White House Social Media Director Dan Scovino’s Twitter account, that he would agree to a peaceful transfer of power.
The alternate account had to be used because Twitter suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours. Facebook and YouTube also suspended his social media accounts after a video he posted in which he continued to claim massive election fraud cost him the election while telling the rioters who had desecrated the nation’s capital that they were “special” and loved.
The violence, in addition to the damage to the historic building and offices of members of Congress, left four people dead and more than 50 law enforcement officers injured.
On Thursday evening, after he was allowed to post to Twitter and YouTube again, Trump posted another video statement in which he was much harsher on the rioters.
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Trump said in the video. “To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country and to those who broke the law, you will pay.”
The recriminations over the violence that transpired, however, and the lingering partisan warfare that led to a months-long delay in acknowledging Biden’s victory, are still alive and well.
Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), one of the six senators who voted in favor of objections to the certification of electoral votes Wednesday, maintained that the as yet unfounded claims of irregularities in the 2020 presidential election will continue to be an issue for him.
“Most Louisianians get up every day, go to work, obey the law, pay their taxes and try to do right by their kids,” Kennedy said in a statement Thursday. “They would never join a mob. They care about election integrity, and many are concerned about irregularities surrounding the Nov. 3 election. I came to the Capitol yesterday to give them a voice. I joined several Senate colleagues in calling for a bipartisan commission to inspect election issues raised across the country. Our proposal was not successful, but our goal to ensure full confidence and transparency in our elections — for all Americans — is a noble one, and I’ll keep pursuing it.”
Another Louisiana legislator, U.S. 3rd District Rep. Clay Higgins, also voted in favor of the objec–tions to electors being counted from two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania.
“Last night, I stood by my Constitutional obligation to object to the certification of electors from several sovereign states,” Higgins said in his statement Thursday. “What happened yesterday at our Capitol was violently wrong, and I am participating in the investigation. I will report back with actual investigative truth over the next weeks and months. Things are not always as they seem. Objective investigation is required. However, the violent protest does not negate my Constitutional duty regarding election integrity and illegal voting proce–dures.”
Louis–iana’s other senator, Sen. Bill Cassidy, voted against both electoral objections and was far more strident in his anger at the insurrectionists.
“These (rioters) are attempting to disrupt a constitutionally-mandated peaceful transfer of power,” Cassidy told USA Today in an interview Wednesday. “We can’t allow hooligans to do this. It is in fact sedition and should be prosecuted as such. This is supposed to be a peaceful transition of power. What they’re doing is absolutely wrong. It is un-American.”
Kennedy also decried the violence.
“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was despic–able and shame–ful,” Kennedy said. “The rioters respon–sible should go to jail and pay for the destruction they caused. No exceptions. I condemned rioters and mob violence last summer in our cities, and I condemn them now. I’m proud that Congress was not cowed. We returned to the Senate floor late last night and finished our work early this morning.”
Meanwhile, investigations into how a disorganized group of attackers managed to overwhelm police and take the heart of the nation’s government are ramping up, even as law enforcement agencies are seeking to arrest those who participated in the attack. The acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia said his office has brought charges against 55 individuals so far, and that more charges will be forthcoming. According to the FBI, more than 4,000 leads are being followed as of Thursday afternoon to identify and bring those involved to justice.
The outrage over the violence was not limited to only politicians and violent agitators. On social media, a photo of Rouses Market co-owner Donald Rouse and his former media director at the rally which preceded the attack on the Capitol went viral Thursday. The businessman released a statement saying that, although he is not involved in the day-to-day operation of the Louisiana grocery chain, he said he is still aware that it is his family name that is on the stores and that his actions reflect on the standing of the business and the community.
“I attended the rally yesterday as a supporter of the president and to be in our nation’s capital at the close of his presidency,” Rouse said. “I left before the violence began and was shocked and saddened to see it unfold on TV. I condemn the actions of those who unlawfully entered and damaged our hallowed institutions and threatened our public servants. Violence and destruction do not represent our country’s values, or the values of Rouses.”