A joint session of Congress on Friday formally certified President-elect Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory, over the last-minute objections of several Democratic lawmakers who tried to contest the outcome – and were instructed by Vice President Biden, “It is over.”
The certification clears away any final hurdles for Trump’s road to the inauguration in two weeks.
Trump was certified as winning the White House race with 304 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 227. Mike Pence was certified as the next vice president.
But as with other formalities in this election that normally would proceed without much ado, Friday’s certification was marked by moments of drama.
Several Democratic lawmakers tried to sideline the proceedings, objecting to the validity of the vote on the basis of what they called “voter suppression,” Russian interference in the election, and other factors.
Each time, Biden, who was presiding, rapped the gavel and cut them off because they did not have the necessary support for their objection from a U.S. senator.
“It is over,” Biden instructed Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., one of several who tried to lodge an objection. The chamber broke out in applause.
Toward the end, several protesters also were escorted out of the House chambers.
The outcome already was assured, after all 538 electors met in their respective state capitals in December to cast their votes, giving Trump well over the 270 needed to win. Despite rumblings of a revolt, only two Republican electors -- both from Texas -- cast protest votes that day for someone other than Trump. Clinton lost four Democratic electors in Washington state and one in Hawaii.
Friday's vote count marked the last chance for Democrats and other anti-Trump forces to disrupt Trump's election. They technically were allowed to file objections, but needed a member of the House and Senate to jointly contest an individual state’s electoral ballots, in order to trigger a separate debate and vote.
None of the House Democrats objecting had a Senate co-sponsor.