In his speech at the Reagan Library on Thursday, former Vice President Mike Pence says he is “proud” of his role overseeing Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results.
His address comes as he looks toward getting more Republicans elected in 2022 and contemplates running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Following the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump asked Pence to block the certification to declare Biden the victor. Pence received much criticism from both Trump and Republicans after he refused Trump’s request.
Several attendees of the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference met Pence with shouting “traitor” and booing. “There are those in our party who believed that in my position as presiding officer over the joint session that I possess the authority to reject or return electoral votes certified by the states,” he remarked at the Reagan Library, “but the Constitution provides the vice president with no such authority,” (Reuters).
The January 6 riot on the Capitol, which briefly stalled Congress’ certification process, took place on the heels of Trump’s address that day. Following January 6, Trump was impeached for his supposed role in inciting the attack. His message, which many believe directly caused the mob to storm the Capitol, has remained the same since November, “We won this election, and we won it by a landslide,” (BBC).
Although he was eventually acquitted of the charge, this idea resonated with many of his supporters. Trump and Pence, however, might never “see eye to eye,” Pence says, regarding the day’s event. He stated on Thursday, “I understand the disappointment many feel about the last election, but there’s more at stake than our party and our political fortunes in this moment. If we lose faith in the Constitution, we won’t just lose elections – we’ll lose our country.”
The 2020 election and subsequently the events of January 6 have caused a rift in the Republican Party as a whole. Pew Research reports that among Biden voters, 95 percent believe Biden “definitely” won the election, whereas 40 percent of Trump voters believe the same of Trump.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, early and absentee voting saw historic highs leaving many to question the integrity of the election process. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, state legislators across 47 states have introduced 361 bills as of March 24 with provisions to make registering, staying on voting rolls, and voting more challenging for Americans when compared to the existing laws.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH A. HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LA TIMES
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