Although President Donald Trump and his allies want Vice President Mike Pence to interfere in the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory next week, legal experts have noted that he has no authority over the outcome of the process. Nevertheless, author Gabe Fleisher argued that there would be a precedent for Pence to recuse himself from his position.
"There would be precedent for Pence to recuse himself from presiding (which might be the most politically expedient option for him)," he tweeted.
"Hubert Humphrey did so in 1969 when he was VP and the losing presidential nominee. The president pro tempore presided instead."Fleisher made the remarks amid a discussion with USA Today Washington correspondent Maureen Groppe, who highlighted that both Richard Nixon and Al Gore received standing ovations after they declared their election opponents the winner and certified their own losses. Fleisher later highlighted that former Vice President Dan Quayle also certified his party's loss.
As reported by The Washington Post, U.S. vice presidents have traditionally acted as the presiding officer during the certification of the Electoral College's vote count. The publication claimed that this ceremonial position has been upheld even when such officers must certify their opponent's victory and pointed to Nixon and Gore's roles.
This year, the news outlet noted, it's unclear how proceedings will unfold.
"This Jan. 6, things are expected to proceed differently, and not just because Trump has thus far declined the take the 'grace and humor' route. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has signed on to House Republican objections, meaning that even if Pence acts according to the script, the objections will be heard."
In a piece for National Review, Rich Lowry argued that Pence might recuse himself to "sidestep" the conflict that has surrounded the commander-in-chief's refusal to accept Biden's victory. However, Lowry pushed back on the idea that Pence would attempt to "unilaterally" declare the U.S. leader the winner — a move the columnist said many of the head of state's supporters are hoping the second-in-command will make.
Legal historian Jed Shugerman previously noted that Pence's role is ceremonial in nature and does not come with the authority to alter its outcome. Nevertheless, the politician is being pressured to object to the results as other GOP senators support the U.S. leader's battle against the 2020 election results.
Pence's apparent unwillingness to throw his support behind Trump's claims of electoral fraud has upset some, including pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood. As The Inquisitr reported, Wood notoriously called for Pence to be arrested and face execution by a firing squad for his purported disloyalty to the commander-in-chief.