Former Vice President Mike Pence has broken his silence on the tumultuous events surrounding the 2020 election, suggesting that former President Donald J. Trump’s insistence on overturning the election should render him unfit for future office.
Speaking to Fox News on Wednesday, Pence addressed his unique role in this historic criminal case and the complex dynamics of his relationship with Trump.
“I want the American people to know that I had no right to overturn the election,” Pence asserted. He candidly disclosed that during the crucial juncture, President Trump urged him to prioritize loyalty to him over upholding the Constitution. Yet, Pence maintained, he unwaveringly chose the Constitution and would continue to do so. The former vice president expressed his strong belief that anyone placing themselves above the Constitution should not hold the presidency.
He previously made similar remarks at an 8 June launch event for his Presidential campaign.
Pence’s testimony became a focal point in the recent indictment filed by special counsel Jack Smith, painting him as a pivotal figure in a case accusing Donald Trump of conspiring to subvert the 2020 election. The indictment’s revelations highlighted Pence’s efforts to thwart his former ally’s election-related schemes, exposing the fractures in their once-solid partnership.
Details from the indictment illuminated key interactions between Trump and Pence, underscoring the latter’s resistance to engage in the election plot. During a tense Christmas Day phone call, Pence stood his ground against Trump’s demands, triggering Trump’s frustration. “You’re too honest,” Trump reportedly rebuked Pence for his refusal to comply with the scheme.
However, Pence has shown reluctance to adopt the role of a Donald Trump antagonist fully. While he has hinted at the disqualifying nature of Trump’s election efforts, Pence has portrayed Trump more as a casualty of unfortunate circumstances than as the architect of an election-manipulating conspiracy.
“Anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be president of the United States,” Pence asserted while acknowledging that Trump’s legal team propagated misleading arguments. In subsequent interviews, Pence elaborated on the events leading up to the indictment and provided a more explicit critique of his former boss.
“The American people deserve to know that President Trump and his advisers didn’t just ask me to pause — they asked me to reject votes, return votes, essentially to overturn the election,” Pence stated in a candid interview on Fox News.
He reaffirmed his commitment to his oath and asserted that he upheld his duty during that day’s crucial events. In response, Donald Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, to mock Pence’s standing.
Despite their complex history, Pence’s testimony has shone a spotlight on their partnership’s transformation, from Trump’s right-hand man to a crucial witness in his prosecution.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.