Braun withdraws objection after riot

By Herald Staff

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On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., and of Jasper, was set on contesting the U.S. Congress’ certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

But after a mob of President Donald Trump supporters broke through security and stormed into the Capitol building that afternoon, the senator from Jasper changed his stance.

“Today’s events changed things drastically,” he wrote Wednesday night in a tweet on his official account. “Though I will continue to push for a thorough investigation into the election irregularities many Hoosiers are concerned with as my objection was intended, I have withdrawn that objection and will vote to get this ugly day behind us.”

The certification is a mandated step for Congress, one that would confirm the votes and president-elect Joe Biden’s win.

The process was underway Wednesday morning, as a protest rally of Trump supporters was underway at The Elipse, which is at the other end of The Mall, away from the Capitol. Eventually, the crowd moved to the Capitol, still protesting the certification. Their stance was that election count was fraudulent and that Trump had actually won. The allegations, which Trump has also repeated many times, were what brought the crowds to the Capitol.

Several congressmen were also calling for additional investigation into the allegations, Braun included. He was one of 11 senators who said they would object to certification votes and push for an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in multiple states. That would include those states convening special legislative sessions to certify their vote in a manner consistent with the findings of the commission’s audit.

“A fair and credible audit — conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20 — would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process,” Braun tweeted Tuesday morning.

The vote and objection was underway Wednesday, with several legislators, including Braun, contesting Arizona’s count. During the noon hour, he signed the form to formalize his objection and went outside to talk to protestors from Indiana about why he was objecting.

A little after 2 p.m., rioters breeched police lines, worked their way to the Capitol. They scaled the walls, break the windows and get inside. Legislators and Vice President Mike Pence were evacuated as the mayhem escalated inside. Rioters were seen in legislators offices, sitting in seats and hanging off the balcony in the Senate chamber, toting Trump and Confederate flags through the hall, and placing them in crevices of statues. They were also posing for pictures, filming videos on their phones and taking items, like laptops, the House’s podium and mail.

Braun expressed his dismay about the chaos:

“What we’re seeing at the Capitol is wrong, hurts the cause of election integrity, and needs to stop immediately,” he tweeted at 4:15 p.m. “Rioting and violence are never acceptable.”

Order was restored that evening. Five people at the riot died that day, including Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick. More than 60 people were arrested, with more arrests happening in the days that followed.

Congress resumed the count at 8 p.m. Wednesday night. The certification was completed at almost 4 a.m. Thursday morning.

Braun took to Twitter Friday afternoon to express his condolences about Sicknick.

“Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick’s death is a grave tragedy in a day full of them,” he wrote. “USCP, like all men and women in law enforcement, stand between order and chaos: those found responsible for his death must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Pray for his family.”

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