Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he was “proud” of what he did on Jan. 6 in certifying the electoral college victory of President Joe Biden.
He went on to declare there is “almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”
Pence, in remarks Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, directly addressed those who continue to blame him for Trump’s defeat to now-President Joe Biden, who won the Electoral College on a 306-232 vote.
“Now there are those in our party who believe that, in my position as presiding officer over the joint session, that I possessed the authority to reject or return electoral votes certified by the states,” he said, according to Fox News.
“But the Constitution provides the vice president with no such authority before the joint session of Congress.
“And the truth is,” he continued, “there’s 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.”
Pence said he will “always be proud that we did our part, on that tragic day, to reconvene the Congress and fulfil our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”
It was Pence’s most overt attempt to date to distance himself from Trump’s rhetoric about the election while painting himself as an heir to Trump’s mantle and key to his accomplishments in office.
Trump has continued to insist that he won the November election, even though his administration’s own election experts, his attorney general, state election officials and numerous judges, including some he appointed, have repeatedly and forcefully rejected his allegations of mass voter fraud.
Pence, speaking as part of a series organized by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, repeatedly praised Trump — as he has in other speeches since leaving office — and compared him to Reagan, whom Pence has long hailed as a hero.
But he also argued that the American public needs to trust that Republicans will “always keep our oath to the Constitution, even when it could be politically expedient to do otherwise.”