January 15th, 2021

Trump backers flood downtown D.C. as Congress prepares to certify Joe Biden’s victory

By The Canadian Press on January 6, 2021.

Trump supporters walk past the dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Andrew Harnik

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legions of Americans loyal to Donald Trump are gathering in the national capital as Congress prepares to slam the door on his presidency.

Trump, refusing to acknowledge defeat, is ratcheting up the pressure on Vice-President Mike Pence, who will preside over today’s certification process, even though he has no real power to derail it.

Several Republican lawmakers will formally object to president-elect Joe Biden’s win, citing phoney allegations of election fraud – a futile exercise that will likely do little beyond delaying the inevitable.

Adding to the tension is the shifting political landscape in Georgia, where Democrat Raphael Warnock was elected the state’s first Black senator and Jon Ossoff appears poised to unseat Republican Sen. David Perdue.

Two Democratic victories in Tuesday’s run-off elections would wrest control of the Senate away from the Republicans and provide a clearer path for Biden’s presidential agenda.

All of that is fuelling fears of violence in D.C., where Trump supporters clashed Tuesday night with police and members of the National Guard are on hand to help maintain order.

On Capitol Hill, all eyes will be on Pence – a loyal Trump lieutenant who finds himself caught between his devotion to the president and his obligations under the U.S. constitution.

Experts insist Pence’s role is strictly ceremonial and that he doesn’t have the power to reject electoral college votes.

Trump seems to disagree.

“If Vice-President Mike Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday – a message Twitter promptly stamped with its now-familiar “disputed” flag.

He followed that up with a direct appeal: “Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!”

Trump is scheduled to address a gathering of supporters outside the White House later this morning, just one of several rallies and protests expected to snarl D.C. streets throughout the day.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2021.

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