Pence’s former chief of staff: Trump’s claims of overturning election ‘merited response’
Former Vice President Mike Pence this week gave a more direct rebuke of former President Trump’s election claims because Trump’s assertion that Pence could have overturned the results “merited response,” Pence’s former chief of staff said Sunday.
Marc Short said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Pence had been “crystal clear from day one” that he lacked the authority to reject the election results on Jan. 6, 2021. While Pence has said as much over the past year, it wasn’t until Friday that he explicitly said Trump was “wrong” to suggest otherwise.
“He extended those remarks a little bit his week … primarily because the president’s comments about the vice president had the ability to overturn the election I think merited response,” Short said. “Of course there’s nothing in the 12th Amendment or the Electoral Count Act that would afford a vice president that authority. It’s why no vice president in 200 years has ever used that authority.”
Short insisted there were legitimate concerns about the way the election was conducted in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia, all of which President Biden won in 2020. But the former Trump administration official conceded the time for legal challenges had passed by Jan. 6, 2021, and Biden is the “duly elected” president.
Pence on Friday delivered his clearest rebuke to date of Trump’s election rhetoric after the former president had suggested Pence could have overturned the 2020 election results, and later mused that a special House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riots should look into why Pence did not reject the votes that certified Biden as the winner.
“There are those in our party who believe that as the presiding officer over the joint session of Congress, I possessed unilateral authority to reject Electoral College votes. And I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to ‘overturn the election,’ ” Pence said at a Federalist Society event in Florida.
“President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election,” Pence continued. “The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone.”
Trump has periodically attacked Pence for overseeing Congress’s official count of the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021, that was interrupted when a mob of Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol in a bid to stop the process. Some of those rioters chanted “hang Mike Pence.”
Short on Sunday said Trump “had many bad advisers who were basically snake oil salesman giving him really random and novel ideas as to what the vice president could do.”
“I think that honestly he did get a lot of bad advice, but it was not something that the vice president, from the very beginning he counseled the president, ‘I don’t think i have that authority.’ Always willing to look at something you want to send our way, but never thought he had that authority,” Short said.
Short said Pence was proud to work in the Trump administration, citing foreign policy achievements, border security and tax cuts.
“I think he’s been very clear to say that he believes the president was wrong, believes the president was given bad advice on that day,” Short said. “It does not take away from what they accomplished working together for four years.”