President Donald Trump said on Monday that he hopes Vice President Mike Pence will do more than just carry out a ceremonial role during the joint session of Congress to count Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
“I hope Mike Pence comes through for us. I hope our great vice president comes through for us. He’s a great guy. Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him very much,” Trump told a crowd at a rally in Georgia.
The president traveled to the Peach State to campaign for two Republican candidates—Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue—before a tight runoff election that will determine the majority in the Senate for the next two years.
His comments come two days before the vice president and both houses of Congress are scheduled to meet at Capitol Hill to count Electoral College votes and hear challenges from Republican lawmakers. Disputes over election results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada remain unresolved after courts refused to address the allegations of election fraud and irregularities, and state legislatures were out of session.
A growing group of Republican House members and senators have announced their intention to challenge Electoral College votes in states where election results are disputed over allegations of irregularities and election fraud. Lawmakers, in the lead up to Jan. 6, have been picking sides in this last-ditch effort to ensure that allegations of voter fraud are transparently and independently addressed.
Thirteen Republican senators have expressed their intent to participate in the efforts, and at least 55 Republican House members have committed to objecting to the contested votes on Jan. 6, according to a tally by The Epoch Times. Meanwhile, more than two dozen Republican lawmakers have also said they will not participate in the efforts.
Pence, who will be presiding over the Jan. 6 session, will be reading the electoral votes for all 50 states. His role during the session has been heavily debated in recent days, as Trump and his allies hope that the vice president will reject the slate of electors for contested states. Meanwhile, critics have said that Pence’s role is simply ministerial in that he only has the ability to count the votes even if he has concerns over their validity.
Republican lawmaker Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) attempted to seek clarification from the federal courts last week by filing a lawsuit against Pence. His lawsuit, which was dismissed by a district and appeals court, argued that Pence had the “exclusive authority and sole discretion under the 12th Amendment to determine which slates of electors for a state, or neither, may be counted.”
In a separate campaign event in Georgia on Monday, Pence told a crowd that he promises Trump and Republicans will “have our day in Congress.”
“We’ll hear the objections. We’ll hear the evidence,” Pence said without elaborating on the role he plans to play.
Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis has suggested that Pence could delay the certification of the Electoral College votes and ask the legislatures in the six contested states to determine which slate of electors should be selected.
The current slates with electoral votes cast for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden were certified by the governors. Republican electors in seven states cast alternate votes for Trump on Dec. 14.
Critics have argued that the strategy of pushing Congress to adopt alternative Republican electoral votes is a long shot, as the alternative votes haven’t been authorized by state officials.
On Monday, Loeffler announced that she would join the efforts to challenge the electoral votes on Jan. 6.
“Elections are the bedrock of our democracy and the American people deserve to be 100% confident in our election system and its outcomes. But right now, tens of millions of Americans have real concerns about the way in which the November Presidential election was conducted—and I share their concerns,” the Georgia senator said in a statement.
“That’s why, on January 6th, I will vote to give President Trump and the American people the fair hearing they deserve and support the objection to the Electoral College certification process,” she added.