President Donald Trump falsely claimed Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence can “reject” states’ chosen electors while proceeding over the certification of the 2020 general election results on Wednesday.
Trump, who has encouraged both Republican members of Congress to object to the results on Wednesday and his own civilian supporters to gather in D.C. this week, tweeted that Pence “has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” despite nothing in the Constitution granting him the power to do so during the joint session of Congress.
The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2021
As President of the Senate, Pence’s primary role is to serve as the ceremonial vote counter. He will, according to the 12th Amendment, “in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted.” (RELATED: Biden Overruled Objections To Trump’s 2017 Electoral College Win — Will Pence Do The Same For Biden? His Office Won’t Say)
The vice president does not have the power to object to any of the state electors’ votes. Congress alone was granted the ability to contest results by the Electoral Count Act of 1887.
Should a member from both bodies object to a single state’s results, the joint session will break and each Chamber will debate the results separately for two hours before voting on acceptance.
Though many Trump allies have pledged to object on Wednesday — including at least 12 Republican Senators and more than 100 Republican Representatives — that act too is purely ceremonial. Rejecting a set of results requires a simple majority vote, which New York Times noted is ultimately destined to fail given the Democrats’ strong majority in the House and statements from a growing number of Senate Republicans that they will not object to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.