Politics & Policy

Trump Claims Pence Has ‘Authority to Reject Fraudulently Chosen Electors’

President Donald Trump speaks amid the coronavirus pandemic, as he addresses a news conference while Vice President Mike Pence listens, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., June 5, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President Trump on Tuesday falsely declared that Vice President Mike Pence “has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” part of his final push to overturn the presidential election ahead of Wednesday’s electoral vote count.

Pence will oversee a joint session of Congress on Wednesday to tally the Electoral College votes, which President-elect Joe Biden won with 306 votes to Trump’s 232. However, the vice president does not have the power to reject slates of electors, only Congress has that power and it has only ever been exercised in a case where a state sent two slates of electors — due to a recount that overturned the state’s initial results — and it fell to Congress to choose between the two slates.

Trump’s message came in a tweet one day after he expressed hope that “Mike Pence comes through for us” at a political rally in Georgia.

“Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him as much,” he added.

“He’s a wonderful man and a smart man and a man that I like a lot but he’s going to have a lot to say about it,” Trump said on Monday. “You know one thing with him. You’re going to get straight shots. He’s going to call it straight.”

While a growing number of Trump allies in both the Senate and the House have pledged to object during the electoral vote count on Wednesday, the debate and vote sparked by such an objection is highly unlikely to end with Trump as the victor, as such a vote would not get past the Democrat-controlled House.

Additionally, a number of Republicans, including Senator Mitt Romney of Utah have criticized Trump and his allies for their efforts to delegitimize the election. 

Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that the election was “rigged” against him and that the vote was plagued by widespread voter fraud.

Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) last week became the first senator to say he would object to the electoral vote count saying he “cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws.”

“And I cannot vote to certify without pointing out the unprecedented effort of mega corporations, including Facebook and Twitter, to interfere in this election, in support of Joe Biden,” he added. “At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act.”

Hawley was joined by Ted Cruz and ten other Senate Republicans who have committed to objecting to the electors submitted by at least one battleground state.

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