Mike Pence Said to Have Told President Trump He “Lacks Power” to Reject Slates of Electors
Vice President Mike Pence reportedly told President Trump that he doesn’t believe he has the power to reject state slates of electors in a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, all but ensuring Pence won’t try to stop certification of the electoral college.
Some have pointed to Pence in his capacity as President of the Senate, arguing that the VP has the power to reject slates of electors under the 12th Amendment. Pence is said to have rejected the legal argument in a discussion with the President, recognizing that slates of electors from contested states are legally valid. However, Pence did state that he will “continue to study” legal arguments maintaining the Vice President has powers under the 12th Amendment to reject slates of electors.
President Donald Trump had suggested Pence could object to slates of electors in contested states, potentially placing the imperative on state legislatures in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin to nominate pro-Trump slates of electors. Such a result would’ve allowed legislatures to appoint pro-Trump electors.
Trump had also asked Pence to object to electoral college certification during Tuesday’s Georgia MAGA rally. A Pence objection would’ve likely set up a difficult and uphill legal battle in the court system, with states such as Pennsylvania suing to uphold the status of their slate of Joe Biden electors.
Some of Tuesday’s reports suggested Pence wouldn’t even preside over proceedings on Wednesday, but officials close to the Vice President rejected such an assertion. It’s expected Pence will appear to preside over the Senate for the electoral college count.
VP office says Pence is still going tomorrow, per @kaitlancollins. Unclear where this miscommunication occurred. https://t.co/jasCul0yXr
— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) January 5, 2021
With Vice President Pence poised to act as a de facto game announcer on Wednesday’s joint session of Congress as opposed to a participant, the final means for the Republican Party to secure a Trump election victory in the Electoral College has dissipated.