United States President Donald Trump appears to be banking on his Vice president’s role in certifying the 2020 presidential election results as his saving grace.
Trump had declared during a mass rally meant for a pair of Georgia GOP Senate candidates on Monday night, saying, “I hope that our great vice president, comes through for us. He’s a great guy. Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him as much.”
Pence holds a largely ceremonial role when joint session of Congress convenes on Wednesday to accept the votes cast by the Electoral College in December.
Under an 1887 law, Pence will preside over the gathering in his role as president of the Senate. It’s his job to call on a small group of lawmakers known as tellers who will read out the electoral votes sent in by the electors in all 50 states and Washington, DC.
Trump appears to be saying that during this ceremony Pence can unilaterally reject a state’s electoral votes.
The Vice President could preside over the Senate during that session. But he can’t vote on anything unless there’s a tie, which he does have the power to break. And given the number of Republicans who have already said they will not support objections to the Electoral College results, there is unlikely to be a tie.
With Trump defeated at the polls, rejected by the courts, unseated by the Electoral College and denied by some members of his own party, What more can the vice president do?
The idea that Pence could throw out electoral votes is not new. Rep. Louie Gohmert, the Texas Republican, sued to try to make Pence reject electoral votes. But the suit was thrown out.
Pence however did not say if he would entertain the possibility of interfering with the count. But he did say Gohmert’s suit was contradictory.
The Vice President said, “(A) suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction,”
“Ironically, Representative Gohmert’s position, if adopted by the Court, would actually deprive him of his opportunity as a Member of the House under the Electoral Count Act to raise objections to the counting of electoral votes, and then to debate and vote on them,” Pence’s filing added.