Donald Trump delivered statements to his supporters on Wednesday, ahead of Congress's joint session to count and certify the electoral votes. He stated that he would "never concede" the election. According to CBS News, Trump told the crowd that he would not have to concede "if Mike Pence does the right thing" because then he would "win the election." This seems to reference Trump's inaccurate understanding of unilateral authority, which he believes Pence could invoke to nullify the election results. "I said, 'Mike, that doesn't take courage. What takes courage is to do nothing,'" Trump added.
Pence has since issued a letter, explaining that he does not have the ability to alter the vote certification, as Trump believed, and that he would not do it even if he did. "It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not," Pence wrote. The Vice President's lengthy letter essentially boiled down to explaining that his role is to count the votes, as leader of the U.S. Senate, not to question their validity or decide if they should be thrown out.
They’re in the chamber. One is up on the dais yelling “Trump won that election!” This is insane pic.twitter.com/p6CXhBDSFT— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
In the wake of Trump's statements, and Pence's many supporters have stormed and begun to occupy the U.S. Capitol building. Reports indicate that they broke through security barriers and began firing shots into the Senate chamber. HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic tweeted a photo of one protester standing at the Senate Chamber's head and raising his fist, declaring Trump to be the winner of the election.
Trump has since taken to Twitter to ask his supporters not to continue their rioting. "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement," he wrote. "They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!"
"I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful, he added in a separate tweet. "No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!" White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany recently announced that Trump has called for the National Guard to restore order at the U.S. Capitol. "At [President Donald Trump’s] direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services," she tweeted. "We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful."