As U.S. Sen. James Lankford began to speak Wednesday on the Senate floor, prepared to cast doubt on a presidential election his own party’s leader had just said was close to a landslide victory for President-elect Joe Biden, he was interrupted.
“Protestors are in the building,” an aide told Lankford, who abruptly ended his speech.
On the other side of the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Markwayne Mullin crouched behind a chair as supporters of President Donald Trump broke the glass to the House chamber door and were met with the drawn guns of Capitol police.
“I was telling them you guys are going to get shot,” Mullin told ABC News later Wednesday.
The two Oklahoma lawmakers, along with a majority of their in-state colleagues, planned to object Wednesday to naming Biden president, an objection shared by thousands of Trump supporters who had gathered outside, some of whom overtook the Capitol for several hours.
Rioters broke into lawmaker offices, smashed windows and looted the Senate chamber.
When debate resumed around 8 p.m., Lankford, R-Oklahoma, was allowed to continue his speech. This time he acknowledged Biden would ultimately be named president and vowed to “set a peaceful example.”
Lankford voted against the objection to Arizona’s electoral votes for Biden, reversing course after one of the most shocking events in U.S. political history.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, also voted against the objection.
But all five of Oklahoma’s House members supported the objection, including Reps. Mullin, Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, Kevin Hern and Stephanie Bice.
All five members are Republican.
The objection to Arizona’s electoral vote was defeated by the House and Senate, which moved forward with other state counts late Wednesday evening.
Oklahoma’s House members voted again for an objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral vote for Biden. Again, the House and Senate rejected that attempt and congress eventually certified Biden’s election early Thursday morning.
Without evidence, Trump has claimed widespread voter fraud in several states he lost, causing many Republican lawmakers to refute clear evidence of Biden’s victory to avoid upsetting the president’s base.
Inhofe, a staunch Trump supporter who won reelection last year, announced earlier this week he would not object to Biden’s election.
“To challenge a state’s certification, given how specific the Constitution is, would be a violation of my oath of office—that is not something I am willing to do and is not something Oklahomans would want me to do,” said Inhofe on Tuesday, speaking with the freedom of a man not facing reelection for many years.
Lankford, who is up for reelection in 2022, drew scorn from Trump supporters after the election when he said Biden should begin receiving classified intelligence briefings, the custom for an incoming president.
Lankford quickly claimed his comment had been “twisted” by the media.
While protestors gathered in Washington, Trump supporters also staged a rally at the Oklahoma Capitol in Oklahoma City, although the gathering was largely peaceful.
Trump supporters have staged multiple rallies at the state Capitol in recent months to claim Biden’s election was fraudulent.
Gov. Kevin Stitt, a supporter of Trump who shortly after the election referred to Biden as president-elect at a time when many Republicans avoided that label, condemned the violence in Washington.
“I have always protected and supported the right for peaceful demonstration but we cannot stand for violence,” Stitt said in a statement. “What is happening at the U.S. Capitol right now is unacceptable and needs to stop immediately. This is not what America is about.”
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