Former President Trump Criticizes Mike Pence's Role in Electoral Certification Dispute
In an exclusive interview with Tucker Carlson on August 23, former President Donald Trump expressed his dissatisfaction with former Vice President Mike Pence's handling of the certification of electoral votes in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. The conversation shed light on the fracture of a once-strong political alliance due to differing views on the constitutional extent of Pence's authority in the process.
The rift between the two prominent figures became evident on January 6, 2021, when Congress convened to certify the electoral votes. The certification was marred by the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a group of Trump supporters, aiming to disrupt the proceedings. Central to the controversy was the role of Vice President Pence, who presided over the joint session of Congress.
Former President Trump and his legal team contended that Pence had the authority to reject electoral votes from states where allegations of widespread election fraud were raised. They cited the 12th Amendment and the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to support their argument. However, the debate over the scope of Pence's power led to a division between the two men.
During the interview with Tucker Carlson, President Trump reiterated his belief that Vice President Pence had received "very bad advice" from his legal counsel regarding his role in the certification process. Trump's argument centered on the notion that Pence possessed the authority to send electoral votes back to state legislatures for further review in cases of suspected election fraud. Trump asserted that interpreting Pence's role as merely procedural would undermine the significance of the vice president's position, relegating him to a "human conveyor belt."
"In my opinion, Mike Pence had the absolute right to send the votes back to the legislatures," President Trump said, arguing that any other interpretation of vice presidential power would make him little more than a "human conveyor belt."
President Trump recalled his incredulity at the notion that Pence, if he had identified potential fraud in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona, would be required to transmit the matter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell without intervening. He dismissed this interpretation, stating, "I don't agree with that."
Notably, Trump cited the backing of several legal experts who shared his opinion that Pence could have taken a more active stance by sending back contested electoral slates for closer examination in light of fraud concerns. The former president's insistence on the breadth of Pence's authority underpins his discontent with the former vice president's actions during the certification process.
The tension between Donald Trump and Mike Pence underscores the complexity of the constitutional roles and responsibilities of key political figures during times of electoral uncertainty. Their differing perspectives on the vice president's authority have highlighted the ongoing debates surrounding the interpretation of the Constitution's electoral provisions.