The Founders Didn’t Want This, Mike Pence Says, Rebuking Trump In Final Days

“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,” Mike Pence declared, in a statement Wednesday.

His remarks came just minutes after Donald Trump told a crowd that he would “never” concede to Joe Biden and that Pence “has to come through for us.”

Alas, Pence did not — “come through for us,” that is. Or at least not if “us” means the minority of Americans and handful of lawmakers who suggested the vice president could effectively override voters and choose the nation’s leader himself.

In the lengthy statement (above), Pence explicitly rebuked Trump. “Vesting the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide presidential contests would be entirely antithetical to that design,” he said, referencing the Founders’ vision for the country. “As a student of history who loves the Constitution and revers its Framers, I do not believe that the Founders… intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority… and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority.”

By all accounts, it’s astounding that it came to that — that the vice president had to issue a statement affirming that the Founders would not approve of a scenario where the president’s deputy was allowed to unilaterally decide the outcome of an election. In addition to being wholly contrary to the spirit of the Revolution itself, an election to decide the next occupant of the White House is no “election” at all if the current administration can simply declare it void.

And yet, at the same time, it’s astounding that Pence mustered the courage to issue the statement that he did. Just Tuesday, Trump insisted Pence was on board with the notion of deciding the election unilaterally. “The Vice President and I are in total agreement that [he] has the power to act,” Trump claimed. “Our Vice President… can decertify the results or send them back to the states for change and certification.”

He reiterated those sentiments in front of thousands of fans, huddled on the Ellipse south of the White House Wednesday. “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Trump said.

That’s a strange definition of “win” vis-à-vis an “election.” It’s not an “election” if one person decides it. You can’t “win” an “election” by reference to your own decree. That’s a contradiction in terms.

On what was a truly historic day for the world’s foremost democracy, it’s imperative that everyone, no matter your party affiliation or your affinity for Trump and Trumpism, acknowledge that the president attempted to institute an autocratic regime in America following the election. It’s now impossible to suggest otherwise. It’s also not accurate to call that a partisan assessment. It’s just a fact.

Trump dropped all pretenses over the past several weeks. He directly pressured state legislators, he called Georgia officials on a recorded line and demanded they “find” enough votes to flip the state in his favor, and, finally, he explicitly asked the vice president to unilaterally overturn the election, and boasted about doing so before a crowd of thousands gathered in the nation’s capital. See for yourself (video below).


“Mike Pence, I hope you’re gonna stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country,” Trump boomed, as Pence gathered with Nancy Pelosi to begin the certification process for Biden’s win, which was delayed Wednesday for debate thanks to objections from lawmakers loyal to the president.

“And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you, I will tell you right now,” Trump added, in a veiled threat to Pence. “I’m not hearing good stories.”


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10 thoughts on “The Founders Didn’t Want This, Mike Pence Says, Rebuking Trump In Final Days

  1. He stated the obvious.
    He still has wiggle room to act one way or the other but appears interested in appeasing both the “Base” and moderates and his Constitutional obligation.

  2. All the Republicans who countenanced Trump’s shenanigans are a day late and a dollar short. With these hooligans storming the capitol, they are now seeing the fruits of their sycophancy. Maybe some of those voters who didn’t like Trump’s “style” will now wake up and realize how truly insane his behavior really is. Of course, all I expect to hear is more whataboutism. This is a hugely historic day, but not in a good way.

  3. Trump is dead. Long live Trump. We will now be treated to the spectacle of Cruz, Hawley, et al., fighting it out on a new game show called Who Wants To Be An Authoritarian Strongman? It’s doubtful any of them have the talent to build a personality cult similar to Trump’s. But as long as roughly half the country seems to yearn deeply for strongman government, there will be no shortage of right-wing politicians hoping they can pick up where Trump left off. We were lucky this time — Trump is an incompetent buffoon who failed miserably in his attempts to become an American Ergodan. But the idea that someone with those ambitions even made it to the White House should scare the crap out of everyone in this nation. The next time someone comes to us wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross, they’ll be a helluva lot slicker and a helluva lot more dangerous.

  4. I hope there is a price to be paid by Trump and his sycophants for today’s rabble rousing and encouragement of the attack on the Capital. This is too far and folks need to be indicted over this. Lets hope politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, and the establishment have the backbone to hold Trump accountable. This man belongs behind bars for today’s and past deeds even if the pursuit of such inflames his base even more. Today’s Georgia results tell you what the true Silent Majority really want.

  5. Seems positive that the MAGA folks are now being called “Trump Mob” and “rioters”. Showing true colors. “Trump” flags visually associated with violent occupation of the nation’s Capitol. GOP figures being tarred with their previously costless association with the red hats. Shots fired, Congressmen sheltering under tables and in offices. Trump marginalizing himself with blatant calls for a coup. Even professional toady Pence being forced to distance himself.

    If you’re a Democrat – heck, an American – this is probably what you wanted to see. As unpleasant as it is, I think this is a good day.

    Oh, and cyclicals and small caps en fuego. Fun stuff.

  6. If you’re watching the Senate speeches tonight, now that they’re back in session, it’s amazing how constitutionally humble the GOP are. How outraged at the days storming of the capital, How thankful for the security personnel. When the camera is on them how proper they appear. How two-faced can you get. The Dems aren’t perfect either but… I’m sure glad the Dems took Georgia. A good place for a new song about ‘The night the lights came back on in Georgia’.

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