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Santorum: Pence 'became the indispensable leader America needed'

Santorum: Pence 'became the indispensable leader America needed'
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Former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum praised Vice President Pence for overseeing and ensuring the certification of Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE's Electoral College victory by Congress last week.

"With the president 16 blocks away, threatening the vice president with retribution, Mr. Pence issued a statement that didn’t waver or attempt to appease his boss and the crowd demanding an unconstitutional solution," Santorum wrote Tuesday in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. "By clearly and firmly standing for and by our constitutional republic, he became the indispensable leader America needed." 

In the days leading up to a joint session of Congress to certify Biden's electoral college win, President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE pressured Pence to "come through" for him and either delay or invalidate the certification process. 

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At a "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington, D.C., just hours before Congress met Wednesday, Trump repeated false claims of a "stolen" election and urged a crowd of supporters to march on the Capitol in a display "strength" as part of an effort to contest the election's result. 

Pence, in a statement issued just as certification proceedings began, said he would not stand in the way of Biden's victory. 

"It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not," Pence wrote

Santorum, who was a member of the Senate when Pence was a member of the House representing a district in Indiana, called the vice president "a solid conservative" and a "good man." 

"To him, constitutional conservatism is more than a campaign slogan," Santorum wrote. "It is the foundation of our republic. If we abandon it when it means our side loses, we have lost more than an election—we have lost our country." 

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Trump supporters who breached the Capitol on Wednesday reportedly wanted to confront or abduct lawmakers and some chanted "Hang Mike Pence" after he said he would not go along with Trump's bid to overturn the election. 

Trump and Pence reportedly spoke for the first time since the riot Monday.

"The two had a good conversation, discussing the week ahead and reflecting on the last four years of the administration’s work and accomplishments," a senior administration official said.