President Donald Trump pressured Vice President Mike Pence to demonstrate “courage” in opposing the Electoral College vote tally on Wednesday during a joint session of Congress held to ratify the results and declare Joe Biden the president-elect.
Pence’s longtime friend, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), recently told a reporter for Tulsa World that he had never seen the vice president as angry as he was in response to the president’s public push to intervene in the congressional certification.
Disputes over Pence’s constitutional authority
Trump and Pence appeared to have a close relationship since the former chose the latter to serve as his running mate in 2016. The reported rift between them hinged on Pence’s assertion that he does not have the authority in his role as president of the Senate to unilaterally overturn the results of November’s election.
After a riot on Capitol Hill this week sparked by Trump protesters opposing Biden’s win, Congress reconvened overnight to certify the results.
While Pence clearly denounced the violence and lawlessness on display during the siege of the Capitol building, his anger seemingly rested largely with the president.
Trump has long argued that voter fraud cost him another term in the White House, urging his vice president to serve as a forceful ally to his cause.
In fact, more than 100 state lawmakers in five states signed a letter requesting that Pence send the results back to their respective states for further review and possible decertification.
“After all the things I’ve done”
For his part, Pence issued a statement on Wednesday insisting that he lacked the constitutional authority to determine which ballots should or should not be certified and counted.
According to Inhofe, however, the vice president’s disgust with the whole situation ran much deeper than Pence let on in public.
On Wednesday night, Inhofe said Pence was fuming and said: “After all the things I’ve done for him … .”
Trump reportedly exacerbated the rift in Pence’s mind when he revoked access to the White House for Pence’s chief of staff Mark Short following the certification of Biden’s win. Sources indicate Trump blamed Short for advising Pence against acting to influence the election outcome.
Regardless of Trump’s disapproval of the process, however, he vowed this week that there will be an “orderly transition” from his administration to the Biden administration on Inauguration Day.