Adamant in his belief that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, President Donald Trump has spent the past two months putting pressure on Republicans to overturn the results of the race and block Democrat Joe Biden from winning the White House.
Despite their best efforts, the U.S. Congress certified the Electoral College votes on January 6. Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the joint session, has also faced intense pressure from Trump to overturn the results, according to a Tuesday report from The New York Times.
The report added that Trump privately and publicly pressured Pence to intervene in the process and reject electoral votes, which he had no authority to do. On January 6, as Pence was getting ready to preside over Congress’ joint session, Trump allegedly called his residence.
According to two individuals briefed on the conversation, Trump warned his right-hand man that history would not look kindly upon him if he refused to intervene.
“You can either go down in history as a patriot or you can go down in history as a pu**y.”
Pence did not succumb to the pressure, certifying Biden’s win and reportedly pledging to attend his inauguration. In fact, he formalized Biden’s victory hours after a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building, clashing with security forces and destroying property.
“Hang Mike Pence,” some in the crowd chanted as they marched toward House and Senate chambers.
Pence and members of his family were escorted to a safe location as Trump seemed to add fuel to the fire, attacking his loyal ally via Twitter.
“Pence had a choice between his constitutional duty and his political future, and he did the right thing. I think he was the man of the hour in many ways — for both Democrats and Republicans. He did his duty even though he must have known, when he did it, that that probably meant he could never become president,” said John Yoo, a legal scholar consulted by Pence’s office.
Former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona echoed this sentiment, saying that he is glad Pence decided to stand up to Trump.
“I wish he would have done it earlier, but I’m sure grateful he did it now. And I knew he would,” Flake stated.
Trump finally conceded his loss in the 2020 election last week, but his political future remains unclear. The commander-in-chief has repeatedly suggested that he may run again in 2024, but he allegedly backed away from the idea after realizing that running for office would require him to disclose financial information.