Pence: Trump is ‘wrong’ to say election could be overturned

Feb 4, 2022, 7:05 AM | Updated: 9:12 pm
CORRECTS DATELINE TO LAKE BUENA VISTA, NOT ORLANDO - Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the...

CORRECTS DATELINE TO LAKE BUENA VISTA, NOT ORLANDO - Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Florida chapter of the Federalist Society's annual meeting at Disney's Yacht Club resort in Walt Disney World on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Pence, on Friday, directly rebutted Donald Trump's false claims that Pence somehow could have overturned the results of the 2020 election, saying that the former president was simply “wrong.” (Stephen M. Dowell/Lake Buena Vista Sentinel via AP)

(Stephen M. Dowell/Lake Buena Vista Sentinel via AP)

Former Vice President Mike Pence has directly rebutted Donald Trump’s false claims that he somehow could have overturned the results of the 2020 election, saying that the former president was simply “wrong.”

In a speech to a gathering of the conservative Federalist Society in Florida Friday, Pence addressed Trump’s intensifying efforts this week to advance the false narrative that, as vice president, he had the unilateral power to prevent President Joe Biden from taking office.

“President Trump is wrong,” Pence said. “I had no right to overturn the election.”

Pence’s declaration marked his most forceful response yet to Trump, who has spent his post-presidency fueling the lie that the 2020 campaign was stolen from him. And it comes as Pence begins laying the groundwork for a potential run for president in 2024, which could put him in direct competition with his former boss, who is also teasing a comeback run.

The relationship between the two men took on a new dynamic this week as Trump escalated his attacks on Pence.

In a statement Tuesday, Trump said the committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol should instead probe “why Mike Pence did not send back the votes for recertification or approval.” And on Sunday, he blasted Pence, falsely declaring that “he could have overturned the Election!”

Vice presidents play only a ceremonial role in the the counting of Electoral College votes, and any attempt to interfere in the count would have represented an extraordinary violation of the law and an assault on the democratic process.

Pence, in his remarks Friday to the group of lawyers in Lake Buena Vista, described Jan. 6, 2021 as “a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol” and framed his actions that day as in line with his duty as a constitutional conservative.

“The American people must know that we will always keep our oath to the Constitution, even when it would be politically expedient to do otherwise,” he told the group Friday. He noted that, under Article II Section One of the Constitution, “elections are conducted at the state level, not by the Congress” and that “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.”

He went on to call out those who have insisted that isn’t the case.

“Frankly there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president,” he added. “Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election. And Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.”

The audience applauded Pence’s line about beating the Democrats in the upcoming presidential election, but remained silent when Pence said earlier that “Trump is wrong.”

As Pence countered Trump in Florida, Republican officials gathered in Utah to align themselves even more closely with the former president. The Republican National Committee censured Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for participating on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. The GOP also assailed the panel for leading a “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

Pence was inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, presiding over the joint session of Congress to certify the presidential election, when a mob of Trump’s supporters violently smashed inside, assaulting police officers and hunting down lawmakers. Pence, who released a letter moments before the session got underway that made clear he had no authority to overturn the will of the voters, was rushed to safety as some rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence!”

The former vice president, in his remarks Friday, acknowledged the lingering anger among many in Trump’s base, even as he said it was time “to focus on the future.”

“The truth is, there’s more at stake than our party or political fortunes,” he said. “Men and women, if we lose faith in the Constitution, we won’t just lose elections — we’ll lose our country.”

Trump aides did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the speech. Trump released a statement shortly after that slammed the Jan. 6 committee, but notably made no mention of Pence.

Trump’s escalating rhetoric comes as he is under growing scrutiny from the committee, which has now interviewed hundreds of witnesses, issued dozens of subpoenas and obtained reams of government documents that Trump tried to keep hidden.

It also comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers push to update the Electoral Count Act to eliminate any ambiguity about the vice president’s role.

Pence has so far tried to thread a needle on his actions Jan. 6, which continue to enrage large portions of Trump’s base, posing a potential complication if he runs for president in 2024.

In recent months, he has generally refrained from voluntarily raising the events of that day but has defended his actions when pressed, saying he was abiding by his constitutional role. Last year, he said in a speech that he will “always be proud that we did our part on that tragic day to reconvene the Congress and fulfilled our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”

He has also accused Democrats and the media of continuing to focus on the insurrection to score political points against Republicans and divert attention from Biden’s agenda.

While a basic declaration of fact, Pence’s decision to describe Trump as “wrong” was especially significant given Pence’s posture in the White House. As Trump’s vice president, Pence was exceptionally deferential to him, never publicly voicing disagreement and defending even his most controversial actions.

After spending several months laying low after leaving the White House, Pence has returned to the public spotlight. He launched his own political advocacy group and has been traveling the country, visiting early voting states, delivering speeches and hosting fundraisers for midterm candidates. Pence, unlike some possible 2024 presidential contenders, has notably declined to rule out running against Trump. He is also working on a book.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the chair of the Jan. 6 committee, and Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California have both said they plan to call Pence to testify as part of their investigation. It is so far unclear what Pence will do.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arby's - LEHI, UT - OCTOBER 26: Exterior view of an Arby's restaurant on October 26, 2017 in Lehi, ...
Associated Press

Ex-Arby’s manager in Vancouver, Wash. sentenced after urinating in milkshake mix

A former manager at an Arby’s restaurant admitted to possessing child pornography and urinated into a milkshake mix
19 hours ago
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris waves next to Lt. Gen. Ricky N. Rupp, commander of the U.S. Air F...
Associated Press

VP Harris to visit DMZ after North Korean missile tests

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea (AP) — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is capping her four-day trip to Asia with a stop at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean Peninsula as she tries to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to the security of its Asian allies. The visit on Thursday comes on the heels of North […]
19 hours ago
Curious sightseers walk in the receding waters of Tampa Bay due to the low tide and tremendous wind...
Associated Press

Experts: Negative storm surge in Tampa Bay as Ian approached

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Water drained from Tampa Bay on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian approached Florida’s Gulf Coast. The storm eventually made landfall near Fort Myers, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the south. A number of people posted photos on social media of themselves and others walking out onto the silty and sandy bay […]
19 hours ago
Registrar Kristen Schmidt takes stock of the painting "Seated Man" by Elaine de Kooning, wife of Wi...
Associated Press

Arizona museum exhibit marks end to de Kooning painting saga

PHOENIX (AP) — After a Willem de Kooning painting worth millions was brazenly stolen in 1985 from an Arizona museum, the staff clung to the hope that it would turn up one day. But nobody could have predicted “Woman-Ochre” would find its way back through the kindness of strangers in a neighboring state. “I would […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Former governor Cuomo forming PAC, hosting weekly podcast

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking his biggest steps yet to return to public life, more than a year after resigning in the wake of a bevy of sexual harassment allegations. In a video posted online Wednesday, the Democrat said he’s forming a political action committee and a gun […]
19 hours ago
FILE - A park ranger loyal to the CNDP escorts visitors through the Virunga National Park, near the...
Associated Press

Report: 200 environmental activists killed globally in 2021

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Some 200 environmental and land defense activists were killed around the world in 2021, including some 54 in Mexico, which assumed the position of the deadliest country in the annual report by nongovernmental organization Global Witness. More than three-quarters of the killings took place in Latin America, where Colombia, Brazil and […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Pence: Trump is ‘wrong’ to say election could be overturned