Vice President Mike Pence opened a joint session of Congress Wednesday by announcing he can not object to President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s victory, which President Trump has called for him to do while claiming widespread fraud in the November election.
In a letter sent to lawmakers ahead of the meeting, Mr. Pence said the founders did not intend “to invest the vice president with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted … and no vice president in American history has ever asserted such authority.”
At a pro-Trump rally near the White House across town, the president repeatedly invoked Mr. Pence’s name, urging him to send back contested electoral votes to state legislatures for recertification.
“Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of the Constitution and the good of our country,” Mr. Trump said to the crowd of thousands. “And if you don’t, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I’m not hearing good stories.”
Legal scholars have said Mr. Pence’s role is to be more of a master of ceremonies.
“It is my considered judgment 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,” Mr. Pence’s letter read.