Donald Trump Says He Wanted Mike Pence to Overturn the Election for First Time

Donald Trump has admitted that he wanted former Vice President Mike Pence to have "overturned the Election" while the 2020 results were being certified during his ceremonial role as presiding officer of the Senate.

In a statement released on Sunday night attacking bipartisan efforts to reform the Electoral Count Act, the former president suggested Pence had the power to stop the results being certified in favor of Joe Biden.

However, Trump's remarks are the first time he has described his intention as overturning the election results, which Pence "unfortunately" failed to do.

While the potential update of the Electoral Count Act of 1887 proposed by lawmakers such as Republican Senators Susan Collins and Mitt Romney and Democrat Senator Joe Manchin would clarify the role the vice president has in certifying presidential elections, Trump suggested it actually aims to prevent a VP from changing the outcome of the results, and therefore Pence did have the power to do so.

"If the Vice President (Mike Pence) had 'absolutely no right' to change the Presidential Election results in the Senate, despite fraud and many other irregularities, how come the Democrats and RINO Republicans, like Wacky Susan Collins, are desperately trying to pass legislation that will not allow the Vice President to change the results of the election?" Trump said.

"Actually, what they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away.

"Unfortunately, he didn't exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!"

A number of people criticized Trump's statement admitting he wanted his former vice president to overturn the election while still attempting to suggest Pence could have stopped the votes being certified in favor of Biden.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republican members of the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, tweeted: "This is an admission, and a massively un-American statement. It is time for every Republican leader to pick a side...Trump or the Constitution, there is no middle on defending our nation anymore."

Just Opening the Envelopes

George Conway, a lawyer and the husband of former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, added: "The answer is: The Twelfth Amendment and the Electoral Count Act of 1887 already make it entirely clear that the Vice President merely opens the envelopes. But sometimes we want to make laws even clearer so that even semiliterate psychopaths have a chance at understanding them."

For more than a year, including in the days prior to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Trump attempted to suggest Pence could have stopped the election results being certified and his supporters should blame the vice president if Biden is officially declared president.

On January 5, one day before his supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop the result being certified, Trump tweeted that Pence "has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors." Trump had also told a crowd at a rally in Georgia how he hopes Pence "comes through for us" with regards to stopping the election results from being certified.

While the insurrection at the Capitol was taking place, Trump was still suggesting Pence had the power to prevent the election being certified, tweeting that he "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done."

Violent Mob

As the riot inside the Capitol building was taking place, a mob could be heard chanting "hang Mike Pence" in the corridors as Trump's supporters appeared to support the former president's claims that Pence should have stopped the results from being certified.

During the second day of Trump's Senate trial for allegedly inciting the attack, House impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett said the violent mob was "looking for" Pence because he had "refused to do what the president demanded" and that they were "talking about assassinating" the vice president.

Just before he was due to begin presiding over the joint session of Congress to count the votes, Pence issued a statement in which he made clear there is no constitutional or legal basis for him to reject the election votes during his purely ceremonial role as presiding officer of the Senate.

Pence also recently told Fox News' Jesse Walters that he and Trump haven't spoken since "last summer" following the January 6 fallout.

Trump and Pence have been contacted for comment.

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Mike Pence looks on as Donald Trump leads a meeting with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and pharmaceutical executives in the Cabinet Room of the White House on March 2, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Trump is still falsely claiming that the former vice president could have "overturned" the 2020 Election results in his favor. Drew Angerer/Getty Images