Former vice president Mike Pence said he would remain “proud” that he and members of Congress completed the certification of the Electoral College results, in remarks at the Reagan Library on Thursday evening.
In a wide-ranging speech, Pence urged Republicans to continue the policies of former president Donald Trump alongside more traditional conservative priorities. Pence said that “under President Trump’s leadership we were able to achieve things Republicans have been talking about since the days of Barry Goldwater.”
Pence praised Trump’s focus on border security, calling for the country to continue building a wall on the southern border, and said that the “Trump–Pence administration” was the first to see “Communist China for what it was — not a partner engaged in good-faith competition, but a strategic competitor.”
The former vice president also touched on the Electoral College certification on January 6, when a mob of Trump supporters overpowered police and breached the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to evacuate. Rioters were recorded running through the Capitol chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” hours after Trump urged Pence to prevent the certification.
“The Constitution affords the vice president no authority to reject or return electoral votes submitted to the Congress by the states,” Pence said. “Truth is, there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president. “
Pence added, “I will always be proud to have played a small part on that tragic day when we reconvened the Congress and fulfilled our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.” He warned that “if we lose faith in the Constitution, we won’t just lose elections — we’ll lose our country.”
“Now more than ever, America needs the Republican Party to be the party of the Constitution,” Pence said.
Trump, who alleged that Democrats “stole” the election via widespread voter fraud, slammed Pence for allowing the certification to move forward in a tweet at 2:44 p.m., while rioters were entering the Capitol.
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify,” Trump wrote.
Pence said earlier this month that he and Trump may never “see eye to eye” regarding the riot, in a speech to the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner for the Hillsborough County Republican Committee in New Hampshire.
“As I said that night, January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States of America,” Pence said during the speech June 3.
“You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since he left office, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day,” Pence said. “But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people of the last four years.”