Photography and Text by Pete Marovich
For years during his administration, President Donald Trump claimed that the only way he could be denied a second term was if the election was rigged, thus laying the groundwork for his “stop the steal” campaign after the votes were counted. He was determined to continue spreading misinformation, saying that the election as riddled with illegal voting and fraud.
On election day as the votes were tallied, it looked as if the President was going to win a second term. But his words during the campaign casting doubt on the legitimacy and accuracy of early and mail-in voting may have been his undoing.
A majority of Joe Biden supporters voted early or by mail-in ballot in an election that saw a record number of ballots cast in this manner due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the large number of mail-in ballots, some swing states experienced vote counting and reporting delays, which in turn caused news outlets to postpone their projection of Biden and Harris as the winners until three and a half days after the election.
Trump insisted that the surge in votes for the Democrats among the mail-in ballots was evidence that ballots were being dumped in favor of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to cheat him out of the win.
Investigations after the election showed no evidence of the widespread fraud that Trump and his allies claimed. Republican and Democratic election officials certified the election as valid, courts rejected countless lawsuits and even Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, said he saw no evidence of widespread fraud. Federal agencies overseeing election security said it was the most secure election in American history.
The 117th United States Congress was scheduled to count and certify the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021.
In December, Trump began calling for his supporters to stage a massive protest in Washington, D.C., to argue against certification of the electoral vote.
On Jan. 6, following a rally outside of the White House where Trump spoke along with his enablers, including some members of Congress and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, Trump supporters marched to the Capitol where they eventually breached security.
Just minutes before the breach, the certification of the votes was stopped and lawmakers were evacuated to safety. The rioters entered the House and Senate chambers and vandalized offices as they wandered the Capitol in search of Democratic lawmakers.
Five people died that day: one person was shot by police, a Capitol Police officer died from injuries sustained at the hands of the rioters , one person died of a heart attack, another of a stroke, and one person’s death is still under investigation.
Trump was accused of inciting the insurrection with his rhetoric, and the House of Representatives impeached him on Jan. 13, 2021, for the second time.
Trump refused to admit he lost the election even after losing the popular vote by over 7 million votes and losing the electoral college votes by the same amount that he won by in 2016 and called a landslide.
Refusing to attend the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Trump departed the White House in the early morning on inauguration day. He held a small rally of supporters at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One with his family and flying to his private club, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida.
After his motorcade passed throngs of supporters on the short drive from the airport to Mar-a-Lago, Trump entered the club and 30 minutes later he became a former President of the Untied States.
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