I know I’m probably in the minority of Trump supporters who actively defend Mike Pence for not taking it upon himself to decertify the 2020 election results. Yes, there were election irregularities, and yes, they were not properly investigated before the Electoral College voted, but at that point, it was out of Pence’s hands. His role in the certifying of the Electoral College vote was ceremonial, and the idea that one person could single-handedly stop the certifying an election, even a fraudulently decided one, is absurd.
Donald Trump, however, refuses to see it that way. “I never called him a wimp, Mike Pence. He had a chance to be great. He had a chance to be frankly, historic,” Trump said in a speech to the Faith and Freedom Road to Majority on Friday. “But just like [former Attorney General] Bill Barr and the rest of these weak people — Mike and I say it sadly, because I like them — but Mike did not have the courage to act. Bill Barr was afraid of certain things, and you know what they were: Please don’t impeach me. Don’t impeach me.”
I don’t believe that the 2020 election was completely on the level, but there were countless gutless Republicans in battleground states who refused to do what was necessary to ensure that the 2020 election was fair, and they failed. The judiciary similarly refused to get involved. As far as I’m concerned, the 2020 election will always have an asterisk on it because we will never know for sure who the rightful winner was.
But Pence could no more stop the certifying of the election than Al Gore could have back in 2001 when there were loud cries within his party claiming that George W. Bush had stolen the presidential election from him — a claim many in the Democratic Party still believe today, by the way.
Mike Pence maintains that he did the right thing on Jan. 6, 2021, and he recently told the Wall Street Journal that he believes Americans understand that.
“Ultimately, I believe that most Americans understand that we did our duty that day under the Constitution and the laws of this country,” Pence said.
He may technically be right, but I don’t particularly care what liberals think. They don’t care about the constitutionality of Pence’s actions as much as they care about the outcome. They were more than willing to cast doubt on the legitimacy of George W. Bush’s presidency because of Florida in 2000 and later Donald Trump’s in 2016 over bogus claims of Russian collusion. What the left thinks isn’t as important as what Trump’s supporters think, and they’re the ones who boo Pence at various speaking engagements and call him a traitor.
Unfortunately, I believe that most Trump supporters don’t understand Pence’s actions on January 6 because Trump continues to perpetuate the myth that Pence had the authority to deny the certification of the Electoral College vote. Because of Trump, Pence’s viability in GOP politics going forward is severely diminished, if not nil. That’s too bad, really. While Ron DeSantis is my favored alternative to Trump in 2024, I’d still like to see Pence having a future in the party.
In 2016, I wasn’t on board the Trump train until very, very late, and my vote for Trump was almost more of a vote for Pence. Why? At the time I wasn’t convinced that Trump had a chance or that he’d be a conservative leader. I was wrong on both counts and enthusiastically supported Trump in 2020.
But his beef with Pence has to stop. Trump has every right to be angry at what happened in 2020 because none of the allegations of voter fraud got a fair chance to be investigated before the Electoral College vote. Faith in our elections is severely diminished as a result, but in order to fix our elections, we have to look forward, not backward, and the GOP needs Mike Pence as an ally and a partner going forward.