Mike Pence 'Did the Right Thing'—GOP Voters Praise Speech Against Donald Trump

Republican voters on Friday praised former Vice President Mike Pence for a speech where he strongly rebuked former President Donald Trump's claims about overturning the 2020 presidential election.

CNN correspondent and anchor Randi Kaye spoke to attendees at Pence's speech to the conservative Federalist Society in Florida after the Republican delivered his remarks.

Pence offered his strongest criticism of Trump yet, referring to the former president directly and telling his audience: "President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election" despite the former president's claims to the contrary.

Kaye sought reactions to Pence's speech from three of those who attended, one of whom was unequivocal in her support for his remarks.

"I was pleasantly surprised with how he handled it," said Republican voter Christine Pratt.

"I thought he did a great job. I think it's time to move on from the 2020 election and look forward to 2024," she said.

Republican voter Tom Feeney said he believed Pence had made it "clear" that "he has a difference of opinion with the president and the president's team over what the duties of the vice president required on January 6."

Kaye asked Feeney if he was "happy" that Pence had addressed the matter.

"I think he needed to address it," Feeney said. "This is a great audience. These are constitutional scholars here, so you're speaking to a very educated group."

Republican voter Keisha Russell was more emphatic in her support for the former vice president's speech.

"I think Mike Pence did the right thing," Russell told Kaye.

"I think Mike Pence should have done what he felt was right," Russell added. "And it sounds like he did what he felt was right."

Kaye then asked how Pence calling Trump "wrong" would sit with Trump.

"Probably not well," Russell replied. "But I guess we'll have to wait and see what he says."

It didn't take long for Trump to reply to Pence's speech. The former president blasted Pence in a statement and again repeated the claim that the vice president could reject Electoral College votes and send them back to state legislatures.

Expert have widely rejected that idea and the vice president plays a largely ceremonial role in the certification of Electoral College votes.

Composite Image Shows Trump and Pence
A composite image shows former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence. Pence rebuked Trump's claims that he could have overturned the 2020 presidential election in a speech on Friday. Getty Images

Trump said that "the Vice President's position is not an automatic conveyor if obvious signs of voter fraud or irregularities exist" and again criticized potential reform of the 1887 Electoral Count Act.

Proposed changes to the law would include removing the vice president as presiding officer during the certification process and clarifying that "the presiding officer does not have substantive discretion over counting votes."

Trump has used these proposals to argue that he's correct about Pence's power to reject Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021.

"The reason they want it changed is because they now say they don't want the Vice President to have the right to ensure an honest vote," Trump's statement said.

"In other words, I was right and everyone knows it. If there is fraud or large scale irregularities, it would have been appropriate to send those votes back to the legislatures to figure it out," he said.