Hundreds of demonstrators don't stop Pa. electors from voting Trump

- There was a lot of noise but no surprises Monday when Pennsylvania’s electoral college delegation met in Harrisburg to cast their votes for Republican Donald Trump.

Outside the capitol, roughly 200 protesters-- most of them peaceful-- braved sub-freezing temperatures to bash Trump as a Russian puppet, unfit for office and to beg 20 Republican electors to vote for anyone other than Trump.

"I came all the way from Brooklyn,” said Laura Parnes, “because I'm fearful about Trump being elected as president."

Back in November, Trump narrowly defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton, to become the first Republican presidential nominee to capture the Keystone State since 1988.

Inside the capitol Monday, behind the heavily guarded doors of the state house chamber, the electors met.
They’d been handpicked by the Trump campaign and the GOP, but were under intense pressure from Democrats- and a few Republicans-- to break ranks.

"It's daunting to be buried under mail and email and phone calls,” said Chester county elector Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh, “but it was more annoying than anything else."

The actual vote-- heavy on ceremony and formality-- took less than an hour and was preceded by Republican calls for unity, following the bitter and divisive campaign.

"When Donald Trump and Mike Pence are sworn in on January 20,” said the state’s electoral college president, Rob Gleason, “they will be the president and vice President of all Americans, regardless of political affiliation or background."

The formal vote for President and Vice President were taken separately, with each elector placing their paper ballot into a small wooden box, where team of five counted them out. There were no surprises, no so-called "faithless electors."

Most in the chamber cheered as Gleason announced the totals:  20 electoral votes each for Trump and Pence.

But a handful in the gallery shouted, “Shame on you!"

Afterward, electors made clear the "Dump Trump" movement never had a chance.

"I listened to arguments,” said Delaware county elector Andy Reilly, “but no argument that I heard overcame the argument that Pennsylvanians voted for Donald Trump."

Elsewhere in our region, New Jersey’s 14 electoral votes went to Democrat Hillary Clinton, as did Delaware’s three votes.

But Trump will be sworn in as the nation’s 45th president on January 20.

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