Despite pressure from US President Donald Trump to overcome his election loss, Vice President Mike Pence will stick to his ceremonial duties and not block Congress certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory on Wednesday, advisors said.
Trump increased pressure on pence on Tuesday to block congressional certification of the November election. This led to a sustained attempt to stay in power after dozens of failed lawsuits against his campaign’s outcome in US courts.
The vice president, a loyal lieutenant during the four years of Trump’s often chaotic presidency, has no plans to intervene and has told Trump that he has no power to do so, even if he tries to aid in the Republican president’s search.
Pence will chair a joint congressional session on Wednesday that will receive the results of the state electoral college that will determine the winner of the presidential election.
Biden, a Democrat, beat Trump 306-232 on the electoral college and in the referendum with more than 7 million ballots. Trump has refused to allow the election.
The US states have already confirmed the results, and Pence, as President of the Senate, has the task of “opening all certificates” on Wednesday in the presence of the House of Representatives and the Senate, according to the US Constitution.
Trump suggested that Pence could do more than that.
“The vice president has the power to reject fraudulently elected voters,” Trump wrote in a tweet, his most recent unsubstantiated suggestion that the election was marred by widespread fraud.
Pence told Trump on Tuesday he didn’t think he had authority to block certification, according to a source familiar with the subject. The New York Times reported first on the content of the conversation.
In a statement released late Tuesday, Trump denied the report.
“The Vice President and I both agree that the Vice President has authority to act,” said Trump. “Our Vice President has several options under the US Constitution. He can decertify the results or send them back to states for modification and certification.”
Trump’s statement and tweet put more pressure on Pence, whose future political outlook largely depends on his ability to please the president’s support base.
But advisors said Tuesday night that the vice president’s thinking about his role has not changed.
Trump’s print campaign against his vice president began Monday night at a rally for the Republican Senate incumbents in Georgia when he expressed hope that Pence would take action.
“If he doesn’t get through, I won’t like him that much,” said Trump.
About a dozen Republican senators, as well as dozen Republicans in the House of Representatives, plan to object Wednesday to the certification of the election college results in Congress. The move has virtually no chance of undoing Biden’s victory.
“WILL KEEP THE CONSTITUTION”
Current and former White House advisers said the vice president planned to perform his ceremonial duties.
“He will be very supportive of the president, but he will be compliant again,” a former White House official who is in regular contact with Pence’s team told Reuters.
The vice president would make it clear that he supports Trump while adhering to the role’s limitations, the former official said.
“It’s a ceremonial role. It opens envelopes and reads the contents,” he said. “That’s it.”
Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, told Reuters on Monday that the vice president would “uphold the constitution and obey the law”.
On Friday, a Trump-appointed judge denied a lawsuit by Republican Congressmen asking Pence to reject the electoral college’s findings, stating they had no qualifications for such a lawsuit.
A Trump adviser said the president told others he wanted Pence to fight harder for him.
The vice president has so far tried to express his support without repeating the president’s false claims about the election. On Monday, during his own trip to Georgia, Pence said Republican objections to the elections would be heard, but he made no commitments to take action against them.
“I share the concern of millions of Americans about electoral irregularities. And I promise you, come this Wednesday, we have our day in Congress. We will hear the objections. We will hear the evidence,” he said.
Following a pattern throughout their partnership, Pence has kept Trump updated on his thinking. The former adviser said Pence likely guided the president through the limitations of his role, informed through a weekend meeting with a congressman.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)