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Pence says Trump is wrong to insist VP could have overturned election results

Former Vice President Mike Pence, seen in November, said on Friday that former President Donald Trump is "wrong" that he could have changed the results of the 2020 election.
Drew Angerer
Getty Images
Former Vice President Mike Pence, seen in November, said on Friday that former President Donald Trump is "wrong" that he could have changed the results of the 2020 election.

Updated February 4, 2022 at 5:45 PM ET

Former Vice President Mike Pence called out former President Donald Trump on Friday, saying Trump is "wrong" to say that Pence had the authority to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election when Congress gathered to certify Joe Biden's victory on Jan. 6, 2021.

Speaking at a gathering of the conservative Federalist Society in Florida, Pence said, "President Trump is wrong: I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone. And frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president."

Trump has continued to refuse the election's outcome — that he lost to Biden — and this week he inaccurately insisted again that Pence "could have overturned the election" when Pence presided over the counting of electoral ballots at the Capitol. A pro-Trump mob overran the building that day, with some rioters shouting, "Hang Mike Pence."

Pence called Jan. 6, 2021, "a dark day" in Washington. "Whatever the future holds, I know we did our duty that day," Pence said, adding, "I believe the time has come to focus on the future."

"Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election," Pence said, adding that Vice President Harris "will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024."

"The truth is there's more at stake than our party or political fortunes," Pence added. "Men and women, if we lose faith in the Constitution, we won't just lose elections. We'll lose our country."

Pence's speech came on the same day that the Republican National Committee adopted a resolution censuring two House Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, for taking part in a bipartisan committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, in which four people were killed.

The resolution says that the committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot is going after people for engaging in "legitimate political discourse." RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel later tried to clarify that language, insisting it was not referring to the violence of the day.

Trump has floated the idea of giving pardons to those convicted of taking part in the violence should he be reelected president in 2024.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.