Trump Says Pence Should Have “Overturned the Election”

It was perhaps his most explicit admission yet that he had wanted his vice president to throw out legitimate electoral votes.

Donald Trump holds the Save America rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch in Florence, Arizona.Christopher Brown/ZUMA

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Donald Trump had a busy weekend. At a rally on Saturday, he declared he might pardon the January 6 insurrections because they have been treated “so unfairly.” On Sunday, a day later, he issued a public statement suggesting that former Vice President Mike Pence should have “overturned” the election during the electoral vote counting ceremony.

The latter statement was perhaps Trump’s most explicit admission so far that he had attempted to pressure Pence to throw out legitimately cast votes on the false pretext that massive voter fraud had swung the election to Joe Biden. In his statement, Trump attacked a bipartisan effort to reform the Electoral Count Act, the vague law governing the the counting of electoral votes. Trump and his associates had sought to exploit ambiguities in the act to seize power. 

“If the Vice President (Mike Pence) had ‘absolutely no right’ to change the Presidential Election results in the Senate, despite fraud and many other irregularities, how come the Democrats and RINO Republicans, like Wacky Susan Collins, are desperately trying to pass legislation that will not allow the Vice President to change the results of the election?” Trump wrote. “Actually, what they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away. Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!”

Trump’s statements echoed a strategy outlined in a widely ridiculed legal memo written by conservative lawyer John Eastman, which argued that Pence had the authority to toss out legitimate electoral votes and decide the election in his running mate’s favor. During discussions with Pence and Eastman in the oval office, Trump had reportedly urged his running mate to “listen to John.” Pence concluded that he did not have the authority to do so, and on the day of the electoral vote count, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol—some chanting “hang Mike Pence.” 

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate