Vice President Mike Pence is set to preside today over a joint session of Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. But as President Donald Trump continues to reject the results, various right-wing media figures are pressuring the vice president to steal the election.
While Pence’s role as president of the Senate is largely ceremonial, Trump has publicly called on him to overturn the election results. At a rally ahead of Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoff elections, Trump directed a pointed message to his vice president.
“I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you," Trump said. "I hope that our great vice president -- our great vice president, comes through for us. He's a great guy. Of course, if he doesn't come through, I won't like him as much.”
The following day the president tweeted simply, “The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.”
Regardless of Trump’s thinly veiled threats, there is speculation as to whether Pence can legally oppose the Electoral College’s ruling. Text within the United States Constitution simply says, “The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.” There is no specific language authorizing the vice president to reject certified results from states, and even Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow has admitted that Pence has no constitutional power to overturn the election.
Nevertheless, right-wing media figures continue to push the vice president to steal the election:
- On Newsmax’s Greg Kelly Reports, pro-Trump lawer Joe DiGenova claimed that the vice president could say “he refuses to accept the certification of a group of electors and send it back to the legislature of those states to make a determination.”
- Also on Greg Kelly Reports, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton claimed that Pence is not presiding over the Electoral College vote count as president of the Senate, but rather “over the unique constitutional meeting of Congress.” He added, “The legislatures are now back in session in a lot of these key states, so they can step up and officially appoint alternative slates of electors. And if that happens, no one is going to have any wiggle room and they will have to decide which electors to select.” He claimed that Trump will then have a slight chance at a second term.
- On Steve Bannon’s War Room, guest Brian Kennedy of the Committee on the Public Danger -- a revamped Cold War-era right-wing advocacy organization aimed at taking down China -- claimed that “Mike Pence can decide which slate of electors he ought to accept,” and Bannon said he “has the authority and the responsibility” to defer to state legislatures.
- On another edition of War Room, guest Rabbi Aryeh Spero called on Pence to “do the right thing” by saying that these “fraudulent votes … should go back to the legislatures … like the founding fathers had envisioned.” Spero also claimed that “this is the moment” for which God “appointed” Pence.
- At a rally on Tuesday, MyPillow CEO and right-wing media favorite Mike Lindell urged supporters to pray for the vice president to look to God and “make the right decision for our country,” claiming that “Donald Trump was picked for eight years by God, not four."
- Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk called on Pence to “refuse to certify at this very moment the election results of Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan” and to allow the representatives to decide the election instead.
- Far-right conspiracy theorist and anti-Muslim bigot Pamela Geller wrote, “Does a great man make history or does history make a great man? We shall see. Pence can be one of the great men of history or he can be a footnote. Hero or zero?"
- Counsel to Trump Jenna Ellis suggested in a media appearance that Pence defer the vote back to state legislatures instead of ratifying the certified count. She claims that this would provide a “clean outcome” to the election with minimal politicization.