(Headline USA) Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell opened the Senate on Tuesday saying the Trump supporters that stormed the Capitol were “fed lies” by the president and others in the deadly riot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden‘s election.
McConnell’s remarks are his most severe and public rebuke of outgoing President Donald Trump. The Republican leader vowed a “safe and successful” inauguration of Biden on Wednesday at the Capitol, which is under extremely tight security.
“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
McConnell said after Biden’s inauguration on the Capitol’s West Front — what he noted former President George H.W. Bush has called “democracy’s front porch” — “We’ll move forward.”
Trump’s last full day in office Tuesday is also senators’ first day back since the Capitol siege, an unparalleled time of transition as the Senate presses ahead to his impeachment trial and starts confirmation hearings on Biden’s Cabinet.
Three new Democrat senators-elect are set to be sworn into office Wednesday shortly after Biden’s inauguration at the Capitol, which is under extreme security since the siege. The new senators’ arrival will give the Democrats the most slim majority, a 50-50 divided Senate chamber, with the new vice president, Kamala Harris, swearing them in and serving as an eventual tie-breaking vote.
McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer are set to confer Tuesday about the arrangements ahead, according to a person familiar with the planning and granted anonymity to discuss it.
The start of the new session of Congress will force senators to come to terms with the post-Trump era, a transfer of power like almost none other in the nation’s history.
Republican senators, in particular, face a daunting choice of whether to convict Trump of inciting the insurrection, the first impeachment trial of a president no longer in office, in a break with the defeated president who continues to hold great sway over the party but whose future is uncertain. Senators are also being asked to start confirming Biden’s Cabinet nominees and consider passage of a sweeping new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.