Mike Pence Defends January 6 Role: It Is ‘Un-American’ to Think ‘Any One Person Could Choose the American President

COLUMBIA, SC - APRIL 29: Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a crowd during an event sponsored by the Palmetto Family organization on April 29, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina. The address was his first since the end of his vice presidency. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Sean Rayford/Getty

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday addressed his GOP critics who believe he could have moved to decertify the election results on January 6, stating there is “almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American President.”

Speaking at the Reagan Library in Southern California as part of “The Time For Choosing” series, Pence laid out a vision for the future of the Republican Party, which he said must be devoted to the Constitution of the United States.

“In the years ahead, the American people must know that our Republican Party will always keep our oath to the Constitution; even when it would be politically expedient to do otherwise. That we are the party, that as the Bible says, we will keep our oath, even when it hurts,” he said before bringing up the controversy of January 6.

“January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. But thanks to the swift action of Capitol police and law enforcement, the violence was quelled. Capitol secured,” Pence said, adding that they successfully “reconvened the Congress the very same day to finish the work of counting electoral votes from every state in the union.”

The former vice president then addressed his GOP critics who believe he could have done more to stop the certification of the election.

“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. But the Constitution provides the vice president with no such authority before the joint session of Congress,” Pence said.

“And the truth is, there is 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,” he said, defending his role and expressing how “proud” he is that they “did our part on that tragic day when we reconvened the Congress and fulfilled our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”

“Now I understand the disappointment many feel about the last election. I can relate. I was on the ballot,” he said before pointing to the bigger picture.

“But you know, there’s more at stake than our party and our political fortunes in this moment. If we lose faith in the Constitution, we won’t just lose elections—we’ll lose our country,” he said.  “So now more than ever, America needs the Republican Party to be the party of the Constitution of the United States.”

Pence added that he will always be grateful for the opportunity Trump and the American people gave him to serve as vice president.

Prior to the January 6 chaos, Trump expressed hope that his vice president would “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 ultimately announced he would not try to decertify the electoral college votes for Biden, who was then president-elect.

“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 at the time:

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