Vice President Mike Pence said that he has no power to reverse Donald Trump’s re-election defeat, defying the president’s demands that he unilaterally reject Electoral College votes from contested states during a congressional session Wednesday.
“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 said in a letter to Congress preceding the event.
Pence will preside over what is usually a pro forma joint congressional session to count Electoral College votes and certify the winner. But Trump’s continued insistence that widespread election fraud cost him victory has turned the event into a drama expected to stretch hours as his allies challenge votes from contested states.
Trump called on Pence to “do the right thing” during a rally before thousands of his supporters in Washington ahead of the congressional session.
“Given the voting irregularities that took place in our November elections and the disregard of state election states by some officials, I welcome the efforts of Senate and House members who have stepped forward to use their authority under the law to raise objections and present evidence,” Pence said in his letter.
“As presiding officer, I will ensure that any objections that are sponsored by both a representative and a senator are given proper consideration, and that all facts supporting those objections are brought before the Congress and the American people.”