Mike Pence is disputing Donald Trump’s persistent lie claiming that the vice president could have overturned the results of the 2020 election when he presided over the congressional affirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral college victory.
“This week, our former president said I had the right to ‘overturn the election.’ President Trump is wrong,” said Pence during a keynote speech Friday at a conference hosted by the Federalist Society. “I had no right to overturn the election.”
Pence was referring to comments Trump made Sunday, in which he insisted that Pence could have “overturned” the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6, 2021, as he presided over the counting of electoral college votes by Congress.
“There are those in our party who believe that as the presiding officer over the joint session of Congress, I possessed unilateral authority to reject electoral college votes,” Pence said. “Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election.”
“And Kamala Harris,” he added, “will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.”
“Whatever the future holds, I know we did our duty that day,” said Pence. “John Quincy Adams reminds us: duty is ours, results are God’s. The truth is there’s more at stake than our party or political fortunes. Men and women, if we lose faith in the Constitution, we won’t just lose elections. We’ll lose our country.”
“Frankly there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American President,” Pence said.
Trump has lied extensively about the election result, including his repeated expression of frustration that Pence did not overturn the will of the people by rejecting the electoral votes of states that Biden had won.
In his role as president of the Senate, Pence presided over the counting of the electoral votes on the day when a mob of Trump-loving terrorists breached the Capitol building in an effort to prevent Congress from affirming Biden’s victory.
Pence repeatedly told Trump prior to Jan. 6 that he lost to Biden and the vice president did not have the power to overturn those 2020 election results, but a cabal operating inside the White House actively considered ways to thwart the democratic process.
Trump teased a 2024 White House bid while also spewing a raft of election lies and January 6 revisionism at a campaign-style rally in Texas on Saturday and in a statement released on Sunday that was disputed by GOP leaders more than a year after Trump’s 2020 election loss.
Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller spoke at Trump’s “Save America” rally on Saturday evening in Conroe, a town 45 miles north of Houston.
Paxton has the most vulnerabilities among the four incumbent Republicans running with Trump’s endorsement, polling close in a race against challengers Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Congressman Louie Gohmert, and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman.
Paxton is facing a criminal case, for which he was indicted on securities fraud charges in 2015, as well as a newer FBI investigation and whistleblower lawsuit brought against him by his former aides, but criminal conduct does not seem to dissuade conservative Republican voters who are most likely to turn out for primary elections.
Sunday statement was among his most explicit in publicly stating his desire.