Pence Interrupts Trump’s Speech to Confirm He Isn’t Going to Overturn the Election

The VP’s statement reaffirmed that he doesn’t have the powers his boss thinks he does.

Trump supporters participate in a rally Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud. The president is expected to address a rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

President Trump on Wednesday, in what’s likely to be one of the final political rallies of his presidency, escalated pressure on Mike Pence to take action to overturn the election and keep him in the White House—an act the vice president himself made clear as the president was speaking that he lacks the constitutional authority to carry out. 

“If Mike Pence does the right thing,” Trump falsely told a crowd of supporters, “we win the election. He has the absolute right to do it.” But shortly afterward, as Trump intensified his pressure campaign and the crowd on Wednesday chanted “send it back,” Pence released a statement affirming that he didn’t have the power the president imagines he does.

Trump laid out his imagined process for the crowd: “All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states and recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people.” The president also repeatedly attacked Republicans failing to back his futile fight to overturn the democratic will of the nation’s voters and remain in the White House as “weak” and “pathetic.” He also signaled that he’d go after Republicans he believed to be politically against him, such as Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, raising the prospect of primary challenges and telling his supporters that they needed to “let the weak ones get out.”

“Your leadership has let you down,” Trump said, referring to Senate Majority Mitch McConnell’s refusal to advance $2,000 stimulus checks as a part of last month’s deal. He claimed, falsely, that his blocking of the checks allowed Democrats to “cheat” and ultimately cost his party the Georgia runoff elections.

The gathering, which brought together white nationalists, Proud Boys, and MAGA fans, came mere moments before Congress convened to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, with Pence having a prominent role in the unusually ceremonial affair. 

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate