Pence called Harris "to congratulate her ticket's win and to assist the transition," according to Politico

By Sean Neumann
Updated January 15, 2021 06:04 PM
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From left: Vice President Mike Pence and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
| Credit: Megan Varner/Getty; JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty

With days before the inauguration, Vice President Mike Pence has at last called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to congratulate her on the 2020 election, PEOPLE confirms.

A source with knowledge of the call says that Harris and Pence spoke by phone on Thursday but could not provide further details.

The New York Times was the first to report the call on Friday, which took place the day before. It is less than a week before Harris, 56, is set to succeed Pence, 61.

The Times described the conversation as "gracious and pleasant" and Politico reported that Pence called Harris "to congratulate her ticket's win and to assist the transition."

According to the Times, it was the first time Harris and Pence spoke since their debate, in October, and the call was the first direct contact between the tickets since the election.

President Donald Trump has still refused to actually concede his 2020 election loss to President-elect Joe Biden. He promised a "peaceful transition" would take place next week only after a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters, who unsuccessfully tried to stop Congress from certifying Biden's win on Jan. 6.

Trump, 74, was impeached a second time on Wednesday for inciting the riot that stemmed from his baseless grievances over the election results.

From left: Kamala Harris and Mike Pence at the vice presidential debate on Oct. 7, 2020
| Credit: Morry Gash-Pool/Getty

The Times reported that Pence and his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, are considering inviting Harris and her husband, incoming Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, to their official residence ahead of the inauguration.

Such a meeting would mark the first face-to-face moment between some of the top figures in the Trump and Biden administrations, amid what's been a tumultuous handoff.

Pence is expected to attend the Inauguration Day ceremony next Wednesday, while Trump tweeted that he was not planning on going.

His refusal marks the first time since 1869 that a sitting U.S. president will decline to make an appearance at his successor's inauguration. President Andrew Johnson, who was coming off his own impeachment the year before, was the last to decline the invitation when he refused to attend incoming President Ulysses S. Grant's swearing-in 152 years ago.

Biden, 78, said last Friday that Trump's decision to not show up at the inauguration "is one of the few things we agree on," adding that his predecessor "exceeded my worst notions about him."

Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and heightened security concerns following last week's deadly riot at the Capitol, both local officials and inauguration organizers have asked the public not to attend next Wednesday's ceremony in person.

Biden and Harris have both said they will take their oaths of office in public at the Capitol.

• With reporting by ADAM CARLSON