US Vice President Mike Pence has informed President Donald Trump that he does not have the authority to decertify President-elect Joe Biden’s win when Congress meets to count electoral votes.
Pence finds himself in the most precarious position of his tenure as he prepares to preside over Wednesday’s congressional tally of Electoral College votes, bearing witness to the formalization of Trump’s election defeat.
At the end of the count, seated on the House of Representatives’ rostrum, Pence has the task of announcing who has won the majority of votes for both president and vice president.
Despite the pro forma nature of Pence’s role, he is under intense pressure from the president and legions of supporters to overturn Biden’s win.
New York Times reported that Mr. Pence has spent the past several days in a delicate dance, seeking at once to convey to the president that he does not have the authority to overturn the results of the election, while also placating the president to avoid a rift that could torpedo any hope of him running in 2024 as Trump’s loyal heir.
Even as he sought to make clear that he does not have the power, Trump seems to think he has. Pence also reportedly told the president that he would keep studying the issue up until the final hours before the joint session of Congress begins at 1 p.m. Wednesday January 6.
Despite this, Trump tweeted;
“If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be).
“Mike can send it back!”
CNN reported that while Trump said it would be politically “damaging” for Pence to refuse to block certification, Pence gently informed Trump during the meeting that the power doesn’t exist for him to derail the process.