Mike Pence Calls Trump's Push to Overturn the Election 'Un-American' but Praises Him as a Disruptor
In a new speech, Pence called Jan. 6 "a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol" and lamented "there are those in our party who believe" he could have blocked the election results
Mike Pence continued drawing a line in the sand - of sorts - against Donald Trump's push to overturn their 2020 election loss, saying Thursday "there's almost no idea more un-American" than the idea of one person choosing the president over the voters.
Trump, 75, infamously refused to accept their defeat last November and launched months of media campaigns and fraught legal efforts to fight the loss.
Then, on Jan. 6, Trump gave a disgruntled speech to his supporters outside the White House calling on them to march on Congress and calling on Pence, 62, to somehow take over the joint congressional session and block the certification of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' victory.
In a statement hours before the deadly attack at the U.S. Capitol that day, which briefly delayed the session and sent lawmakers into hiding, Pence explained he had no authority to try and overturn the votes.
In a speech Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California - and without mentioning Trump by name - Pence said he'll "always be proud" of what he did on Jan. 6, when he and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle returned to the Capitol later that night to certify the results.
Pence called Jan. 6 "a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol" and lamented "there are those in our party who believe" he could have single-handedly blocked the final counting of the Electoral College votes that day.
"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," the former vice president said.
He added: "In the years ahead, the American people must know that our Republican Party will always keep our oath to the Constitution - even when it would be politically expedient to do otherwise."
Pence also had praise for Trump, saying, that like Ronald Reagan "he, too, disrupted the status quo.
"He challenged the establishment, invigorated our movement, and he set a bold new course for America in the 21st century," Pence said. "And now, as then, there is no going back."
Trump spent days calling out Pence leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, which led to the former president's unprecedented second impeachment. Trump groused on social media leading up to the insurrection that Pence "didn't have the courage" to interfere with the election results and criticized him in his speech prior to the attack.
Once the pro-Trump crowd overran the Capitol, some could be heard yelling "Hang Mike Pence!" while a gallows was erected outside the building.
Although Pence maintained afterwards that he and Trump have a "friendship," the two have appeared increasingly at odds since January, with both considered top candidates for the GOP Party's 2024 presidential nomination.
Trump blasted Pence again in a statement last month, saying what he views as Pence's lack of "courage" - as well as "the weak and pathetic" former Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell - is what cost him the election.
Pence's standing with Trump voters has also soured, with some disrupting a speech he gave in mid-June, chanting "traitor!" at the former vice president.
In other comments earlier this month, Pence appeared to indirectly acknowledge the conflict. "I don't know if we'll ever see eye to eye on that day," he said.