Mike Pence says that when he offered to pray for Donald Trump on Jan. 14, 2021, eight days after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol and the day after Trump was impeached the second time, the former president responded, “Don’t bother.” Pence shared this story and other experiences of his days following the 2020 presidential election in a Nov. 9 op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.
“In a Dec. 5  call, the president for the first time mentioned challenging the election results in Congress,” said Pence in his article titled, “Mike Pence: My Last Days With Donald Trump.” “By mid-December, the internet was filled with speculation about my role.”
Mike Pence on the 2020 Presidential Election
Mike Pence is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, former governor of Indiana, and former vice president of the United States. His op-ed for The Wall Street Journal is adapted from his memoir, “So Help Me God,” which releases Nov. 15. A description of the book on Amazon says it is “the inside story of the Trump administration by its second highest official—what he said to the president and how he was tested.”
On Jan. 6, 2021, members of the United States Congress met at the U.S. Capitol to count the electoral college votes from the 2020 presidential election. It was Mike Pence’s duty as the vice president to preside over the counting of electoral votes and formally announce the next president of the United States. Despite it being clear that Biden had won, Trump had repeatedly called the election’s outcome into question and tried to make it appear that Pence had the power to decide who the victor was.
In his op-ed, Pence says that 13 days after the November election, he had told Trump that “if his legal challenges came up short, he could simply accept the results, move forward with the transition, and start a political comeback, winning the Senate runoffs in Georgia, the 2021 Virginia governor’s race, and the House and Senate in 2022.” According to Pence, Trump responded, “I don’t know, 2024 is so far off.”
Pence then describes how the idea that he could influence the election results developed in private conversations and in public, beginning with an “irresponsible TV ad by a group calling itself the Lincoln Project.”
The former vice president says that he was not totally opposed to challenges to the 2020 election. “I supported legitimate challenges to the 2020 vote counts,” he said. “I also recognized that the Constitution didn’t give me authority to override the voters.”
Pence says he had no problem with Sen. Josh Hawley co-sponsoring “election objections brought by representatives…because it meant we would have a substantive debate.” Pence did, however, oppose a lawsuit filed by Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and other Congress members asking a federal judge to rule that Pence could determine which electoral votes counted and, therefore, the election’s outcome.