‘It’s over’: Desperate protests in Congress fail to prevent Trump presidency
In a last ditch effort to invalidate Trump’s victory, 10 US representatives objected to the House’s certification, but failed to convince any senators to join them. As a result, the Electoral College results were confirmed.
Citing voter suppression, stifled recount efforts, and Russian meddling, House Democrats attempted to challenge Trump’s victory on Friday. The effort was short-lived and unsuccessful, prompting Vice President Joe Biden to declare, “It is over” after a House member’s failed objection.
California Democrats Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Maxine Waters, along with Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas challenged the electoral vote certification on Friday. Jackson Lee raised objections to multiple state vote counts, including in Wisconsin where recounts maintained Trump’s lead over Hillary.
McGovern was the first to raise objections in Congress to the certification of the presidential election. “I raise the issue of Russian interference in our election, which I find appalling,” he said in a video posted to Twitter. “I also raise the issue of voter suppression which is a problem all throughout the country.”
McGovern referred to his objections as being a “symbolic gesture” but he stood by it, saying, “it is important that we make clear that we’re going to stand up and we’re going to fight back.”
Jackson Lee attempted to submit a written objection over the issue of votes in Mississippi where she said “ballots that were provisional that denied individuals access.” But the representatives’ failure to secure a US senator to co-sign resulted in Biden dismissing the issue.
Jackson Lee attempted to raise issues of Russian interference, but had her microphone unceremoniously cut off.
Barbara Lee also raised objections concerning voter suppression. In a statement posted on Facebook, she explained, “the use of malfunctioning voting machines, the restriction of provisional ballots, the improper purging of voter rolls, and the widely reported incidents of intimidation and misinformation at the polls are clear evidence of widespread voter suppression designed to restrict the vote among people of color, low-income voters, students and seniors.”
She also raised concerns over the Russia issue, saying in Congress that the validity of the results could be questioned "because people are horrified by the overwhelming evidence of Russian interference in our election."
This wasn’t Waters’ first rodeo at challenging electoral results. In the 2000 election, she attempted to object to the confirmation but was subdued by then Vice President and Democratic nominee Al Gore. Gore shut her down in 2000 when he asked if she had a senator sign her point of order for an objection
“I don't care that it is not signed by a senator,” Waters said 16 years ago.
On Friday, it was a case of deja vu. Her plea, “is there one United States senator will join me in this letter of protest?” was met with boos and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) was seen cackling behind Biden.
Most Democratic senators did not attend the vote and the few who were present did not offer to sign her letter.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) told reporters that while the representatives had raised valid concerns, the idea of changing the course of the election at this point would be flawed. However, she recognized the symbolic gesture lawmakers made, saying, “In some cases, members are concerned about voter suppression. In some cases they are concerned about Russian influence on our election. There are a number of concerns. But really, it’s not going to have an impact at the end of the day.”
Outside, protesters also tried but failed. Shouting slogans such as, “the commander in chief is a threat to American democracy” while others raised objection to voter suppression. The protesters were later removed and charged with disrupting Congress and "Each person was given a $50 fine” according to Jason Charter, an organizer with Unite for America.