‘It is over’: Congress certifies Donald Trump’s victory

WASHINGTON — Congress certified Donald Trump’s presidential victory Friday over the objections of a handful of House Democrats, with Vice President Joe Biden pronouncing, “It is over.”

House Democrats objected to the votes from at least 10 states, raising issues of voter suppression as well as American intelligence showing that Russia tried to sway the election in favor of Trump. In each case, their objections were denied because they didn’t have the support of any senators.

All 538 electors met in their respective state capitals in December to cast their votes. Friday’s vote count made it official. Biden presided over the count in his role as president of the Senate.

Trump finished with 304 electoral votes and Democrat Hillary Clinton got 227. There were seven protest votes for other candidates. It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency.

As expected, Mike Pence was elected vice president.

Trump and Pence are to be sworn in on Jan. 20.

As the votes were announced for state after state, Democratic members of the House stood up to object. But in each case, no Democratic senator would join them, and Biden cut them off.

“There can be no debate,” Biden said repeatedly.

Under federal law, if at least one senator and one House member object to the vote from any state, the House and Senate will meet separately to debate the merits of the objection.

Toward the end of the count, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., pleaded for a senator to join her in objecting.

“Is there one United States senator who will join me in this letter of objection?” Waters said to boos from Republicans. None did.

After the vote, Biden told some of the House Democrats who tried to object why he had cut them off.

“Basically, it was the rules and we understand that,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who led the effort to object to Trump’s election.

Lee and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus wanted to bring attention to strict voter ID laws in some states that they say suppress voters.

“The real question was about the principles of Democracy and the sacredness of the vote and the very high calling of a presidential election,” Lee said.

The objections added a bit of acrimony to the end of a nasty presidential election. Not surprisingly, several protesters were ejected from the public gallery as the vote count concluded.

Trump won even though Clinton received nearly 2.9 million more votes. His election has generated much angst among Democrats and others who oppose the billionaire businessman. But they have been powerless to change the outcome.

Despite rumblings of a revolt, only two Republican electors — both from Texas — cast protest votes for someone other than Trump. Clinton lost four Democratic electors in Washington state and one in Hawaii.

On Friday morning, Trump went on Twitter to provide another assessment of the election.

“Hillary and the Dems were never going to beat the PASSION of my voters. They saw what was happening in the last two weeks before the (election) and knew they were in big trouble — which is why they cancelled their big fireworks at the last minute. THEY SAW A MOVEMENT LIKE NEVER BEFORE,” Trump wrote.

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Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

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Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephenatap

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