President Donald Trump has sparked intense debate over Mike Pence’s role in Congress’ certification of the Electoral College votes, as he seemingly called on the vice president to reject “fraudulent electors.”
“The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” the president tweeted on Tuesday.
The comment came after Trump spoke in Georgia on Monday, telling supporters he hopes Pence “comes through for us.”
“Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him as much,” he added.
The vice president will oversee Congress’ certification of Electoral College results on Wednesday. Though the Electoral College has already cast their votes, and the president’s numerous legal battles to overturn results in multiple swing states have not found traction in the courts, Trump and his supporters continue to allege fraud. They view Congress’ certification as one of the last opportunities to prevent Biden entering the White House.
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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and other lawmakers are already planning on officially objecting to the results, though overturning the votes would require a simple majority of support from both the Senate and House of Representatives. That’s seen as highly unlikely, given the lack of support from Democrats and even some Republicans.
All eyes are, therefore, on Pence, but Trump critics have argued his role is largely ceremonial, mainly since there is no solid precedent for his objecting to the certification.
Pence will preside over the counting of the votes as president of the Senate. Pundits have argued back and forth over his legal authority in this situation, with Trump supporters arguing he has the power to deny Electoral College votes if they are fraudulent, and others dismissing this view altogether.
EXTREME CLOSE UP- Pence’s eyes surveying the room. CUT TO- CLOSE SHOT-PENCE’S hand feeling the weight of the gavel. CUT TO: CLOSE UP- Pence’s mouth as he utters: I REJECT THE FRAUDULENT ELECTORS!
— Randy Quaid (@RandyRRQuaid) January 5, 2021
The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) January 5, 2021
As Trump ramps up pressure on Pence ahead of tomorrow, claiming he has a power he doesn’t, the two of them are having lunch together right now, per multiple people. The lunch is typically listed on Trump’s public schedule.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 5, 2021
This isn’t true in any sense but I welcome House and Senate Republicans to think about the fact that the imaginary powers you give to Pence are also going to be given to soon-to-be-sworn-in Vice President @KamalaHarris https://t.co/UfE7uOB0Ks
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 5, 2021
Stop it. The VP is not the decider here. He is the presider. Congress will uphold the will of the people by a strong margin. https://t.co/kh3y8fxM5D
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) January 5, 2021
As the certification date draws closer, numerous mainstream media reports have described Pence as “torn” between his loyalty to the president and his authority under the Constitution, many of them citing anonymous sources to convey the infighting.
The vice president previously said through his chief of staff that he “shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election” and “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.”
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