PRESIDENT Donald Trump has suffered a major setback in his quest to get the results of last year’s presidential elections overturned by the US Congress after Nancy Pelosi was re-elected as the speaker of the House of Representatives yesterday.
In November 20, President Trump was soundly beaten by former vice president Joe Biden, who won 306 electoral college votes to the incumbents’ 232. Refusing to concede defeat, President Trump has repeatedly tried to get the courts to overturn the results but this has failed and he is now pinning his hopes on getting Congress to nullify the election results.
Over the weekend, President Trump was still trying to get Georgia’s top election official to find enough votes to overturn the election result. He told Republican secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in a recording to find 11,780 votes, so the state could be declared in his favour but Mr Raffensperger made it clear this was not possible.
Running out of options, Mr Trump is now pinning his hopes on the US Congress nullifying the election results. Already, several Republican representatives and senators have said they will vote to get the election annulled but being in a minority in the House, they have a slim chance of success and with Ms Pelosi now re-elected, this option is all but closed.
Yesterday, the 117th US Congress took office with Ms Pelosi, 80, retaining the position of speaker after garnering 216 votes to beat her rival, Kevin McCarthy of the Republican Party, who secured 209 votes. Five fellow Democrats chose not to support Ms Pelosi, with two voting for lawmakers who were not running and three simply voting present.
Despite this, Ms Pelosi, a lawmaker from California still won and was sworn-in for a fourth non-consecutive term as speaker. She remains the only woman to have ever held the office but has presided over the Democrats regaining control of the House, which they lost to the Republicans in 2016 when President Trump got elected.
In last year’s November 3 elections, the Democratic Party lost 11 seats, thus narrowing its majority in the House to 222-212. In the upper chamber the senate, the Republicans have a two seat majority but this could all change tomorrow as there is a run-off for two Georgia seats, which would make the split even if the Democrats win both.
Were this to happen, vice president-elect Kamala Harris would have any deciding vote in the senate, which would technically give the Democrats a majority. Already, incumbent vice president Mike Pence has sworn-in members of the new senate.
On Wednesday, the two chambers will hold a joint session to certify the election of president-elect Joe Biden before his inauguration on January 20. It promises to be the first major test of the new Congress where 11 Republican senators, led by Ted Cruz of Texas, have vowed to vote against Mr Biden’s victory in swing states disputed by Trump.
However, a bipartisan group of 10 senators said the 2020 election was over and urged their colleagues to certify Mr Biden’s election. Republican senators Susan Collins (Maine), Bill Cassidy (Louisiana), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) are all members of this group.