In a statement released as Trump rallied supporters in front of the capital, Vice President Mike Pence declared he will not attempt to overturn the 2020 election in favor of President Trump.
Pence, acting as President of the Senate while a joint session of Congress is set to officially tally the Electoral College’s votes, was pressured by the President, almost 200 Senators and Congressmen, and millions of Republican voters to count provisional ballots cast by GOP electors from key swing states over certified votes from Democratic electors.
In a rare break from Trump, Pence issued a statement saying he will not object to Joe Biden’s certification as President-Elect during today’s Joint Session of Congress.
Early this morning, Trump tweeted, asking Pence to reject votes from states where ongoing claims of voter irregularities have not been resolved. “If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency,” the President said. “Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!”
Pence shares in the frustration of Trump voters who believe the election was conducted improperly, saying the election had “significant allegations of voting irregulates and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law,” and that the American people deserve a “fair and free election.”
However, Pence disagrees with Trump’s interpretation of the Electoral Count Act of 1887. Pence called giving the VP “unilateral authority to decide presidential contests… antithetical” to the separation of powers prescribed in the Constitution by the Founding Fathers.
Instead, Pence will “ensure” all claims of irregularities get a “fair and open hearing” during today’s session.
“It is my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” Pence added. He also called his role “largely ceremonial.” It is Congress’s job to raise objections and debate the validity of the Electoral College’s votes.
Two Democratic Congressmen objected to Trump’s vote certification four years ago today. But without a joining Senator, the objections did not proceed to open floor debate as they did today.
The Senate and the House broke into independent debates following objections to the certification of Arizona’s vote count for Joe Biden. Debate and certification were delayed after Trump supporters violently stormed the capitol building, breaking their way onto the Chamber’s floor. Senate and House staff were ordered to shelter in place as the violence is quashed.
Republicans do not have the votes necessary to overturn the election. Democrats currently control the House, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued against the his colleagues plans during open debate.