It took him almost six full months to do so, but Thursday night former vice president Mike Pence finally stood up for his actions on Jan. 6 and said he was “proud” to have certified the Electoral College results that declared Joe Biden president. It was Pence’s most obvious, direct rejection of Donald Trump’s “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Speaking to a group of Republicans at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Pence said, “I will always be proud that we did our part on that tragic day to reconvene the Congress and fulfilled our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”
Just a week ago, speaking at another conservative gathering, Pence was shouted down and heckled, with many in the audience calling him a “traitor” for not reversing the election results to give Trump another term as president. Trump has led his supporters to believe that Pence could have taken such action.
“Now, there are those in our party who believe that in my position as presiding officer over the joint session that I possess the authority to reject or return electoral votes certified by the states,” Pence said, without directly naming Trump. “The Constitution provides the vice president with no such authority before the joint session of Congress. And the truth is, there’s almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone.”
Previously Pence’s most “forceful” repudiation of Trump’s position was when he declared that he and his former boss “may never see eye-to-eye” about the events of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.