Former Vice President Mike Pence defended his decision Sunday to ignore purported pressure from former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021 to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“Look, what the president was convinced, it seemed to me, in December was that I had some right to reject or return electoral votes, even though no president — vice president in American history had ever asserted that right. And no vice president or any one person should ever have the right to choose the American president,” Pence told CNN’s Dana Bash.
“The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. But, look, in the days before, the president was talking about us rejecting votes. Then, late in the process, his lawyers suggested that we return votes to the states. But, frankly, the day before January 6, if memory serves, they came back, his lawyers did, and said, we want you to reject votes outright. This — they were asking me to overturn the election. I had no right to overturn the election,” Pence maintained. (RELATED: ‘You Did Exactly The Right Thing’: Former Trump Official Praises Mike Pence For Ratifying 2020 Election Results)
Upon launching his own campaign for president in June 2023, Pence similarly argued that on Jan. 6, Trump “demanded [he] choose between him and [the] Constitution,” claiming that Trump’s “reckless words” endangered not only himself and his family, but everyone at the Capitol.
While Pence maintained Trump was entitled to a presumption of innocence over his conduct on Jan. 6, he expressed there were some concerns pertaining to the First Amendment he felt “confident” Trump’s lawyers would address.
“What I want the American people to know is that President Trump was wrong then and he’s wrong now that I had no right to overturn the election,” Pence stated, arguing that he did his “duty under the Constitution” and that he “always will.”