- The Washington Times - Friday, February 4, 2022

Former Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that former President Donald Trump is “wrong” to claim that Mr. Pence could have overturned the 2020 presidential election during the certification of the Electoral College results in Congress.

In remarks to the Federalist Society’s meeting in Orlando, Florida, Mr. Pence called the suggestion “un-American.”

“This week, our former president said I had the right to ‘overturn the election,’” Mr. Pence said. “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election.”

He told the conservative crowd, “The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. Frankly, there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”

Mr. Pence was referring to comments that Mr. Trump made this week in which he claimed that Mr. Pence could have overturned the election as he presided over the vote count in Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

The counting was interrupted by a pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol, with some of the rioters chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”

“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,” Mr. Pence said. “Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election.”

He also said, “And Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.”

The former vice president said he understands why Trump supporters were disappointed about the 2020 election results.

“But whatever the future holds, I know we did our duty that day,” Mr. Pence said. “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.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump blasted the House Jan. 6 committee and said it should be investigating Mr. Pence for not rejecting the Electoral College results.

“So pathetic to watch the Unselect Committee of political hacks, liars, and traitors work so feverishly to alter the Electoral College Act so that a Vice President cannot ensure the honest results of the election,” Mr. Trump said. “The Unselect Committee should be investigating why Nancy Pelosi did such a poor job of overseeing security and why Mike Pence did not send back the votes for recertification or approval, in that it has now been shown that he clearly had the right to do so!”

Mr. Pence called Jan. 6 “a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol.”

“Lives were lost and many were injured, but thanks to the courageous action of the Capitol police and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled, the Capitol was secured, and we reconvened the Congress to finish our work under the Constitution and the laws of the United States,” he said.

The former vice president said the Constitution is clear about the process of carrying out national elections.

“Under Article II Section One, elections are conducted at the state level, not by Congress,” Mr. Pence said.

“The only role of Congress with respect to the electoral college is to open and count votes submitted and certified by the states. No more, no less. Our Founders were deeply suspicious of consolidated power in the nation’s capital and were rightly concerned with foreign interference if presidential elections were decided in the capital.”

Mr. Pence’s comments were his clearest spit with Mr. Trump over his actions on the day of the riot. Mr. Pence had resisted Mr. Trump’s lobbying before Jan. 6, 2021, to stop the counting of votes from several contested battleground states, a move that would have denied President Biden the required number of electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

Last year, Mr. Pence said he and Mr. Trump would never “see eye to eye about that day.”

Mr. Pence is positioning himself for a possible presidential bid in 2024, and Mr. Trump has been hinting broadly that he intends to run again.

Last week Mr. Pence told Fox News host Jesse Watters that he had not spoken with Mr. Trump since “last summer” and that Jan. 6 had been a “difficult” day.

Mr. Trump has become increasingly outspoken about the Capitol riot and the House committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

Mr. Trump, like many Republicans, contends that the Democratic-led panel has weaponized the events of Jan. 6 to target conservatives.

Democrats insist the sole aim of the probe is to uncover the truth about what led to the Capitol riot and to ensure a similar event never takes place again.

Adonna Biel, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, scoffed at Mr. Pence‘s remarks.

“Let’s be very clear — former Vice President Mike Pence doesn’t deserve credit for ‘breaking’ with Trump after standing shoulder to shoulder with him for nearly six years,” Ms. Biel said in a statement. “Pence stood silent as Trump undermined our democracy, and he surely could have done more before Trump incited a mob to attack the Capitol, assault police officers, and try to overturn an election.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Mr. Watters’ last name.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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