Vice President Mike Pence announced he would not try to decertify the electoral college votes for President-elect Joe Biden during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress.
“I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such an authority,” Pence wrote.
Pence released his letter to Congress as the president was speaking at a rally opposing the results of the 2020 presidential election.
During his speech in front of the White House, Trump repeatedly urged Pence to act at the hearing to stop the certification of the electoral college votes.
“Mike Pence I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and the good of our country and if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you, I will tell you right now,” Trump said. “I am not hearing good stories.”
Pence said in his letter that he shared the concerns of Americans about the integrity of the election, and welcomed any challenges to the results from members of Congress.
“Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally,” Pence wrote, adding that he disagreed with that position.
Pence cited Supreme Court Justice Joseph Bradley who defined in 1876 the duties of the vice president during the joint congressional certification of the vote as “ministerial. He also described his role as the presiding officer of the Joint Session of Congress was “largely ceremonial.”
“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” he said.
Pence said he would hear the challenges to the electoral votes but would not act to overturn the results of the election.
“When the Joint Session of Congress convenes today, I will do my duty to see to it that we open the certificates of the Electors of the several states, we hear objections raised by Senators and Representatives, and we count the votes of the Electoral College for President and Vice President in a manner consistent with our Constitution, laws, and history,” he concluded. “So Help Me God.”
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) January 6, 2021