Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short has claimed that he was denied entry back on White House grounds on Wednesday night amid rising tensions between President Donald Trump and Pence, according to reports.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times, nor did Pence's office.
The vice president had earlier said that he lacked the authority to reject disputed electoral votes under the U.S. Constitution, prompting Trump to say that Pence didn’t have the courage to do what was right.
Shortly before the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College votes, Pence issued a statement saying that it was “my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”
“Given the controversy surrounding this year’s election, some approach this year’s quadrennial tradition with great expectation, others with dismissive disdain,” Pence wrote. “Some believe that as vice president, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally. Others believe that electoral votes should never be challenged in a joint session of Congress.
“After a careful study of our Constitution, our laws, and our history, I believe neither view is correct,” Pence said.
In the days leading up to the joint session, the president had been urging Pence to discard electoral votes from battleground states where the integrity of the election is being questioned.
“If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Trump said an hour before the count in Congress was to begin. “All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president and you are the happiest people.”
The joint session was forced to suspend following acts of violence on Capitol grounds that took place during demonstrations over election integrity. Swarms of protesters, many dressed in pro-Trump apparel, stormed the Capitol building at around 2:15 p.m, shattering building windows to enter.
It is unclear who instigated the breach of the building.
Washington, D.C. police confirmed during a press briefing in the early hours of Thursday morning that four people had died on the grounds, including a female gunshot wound victim, who has since been identified by family members as as Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran from California and Trump supporter.
The causes of death for the other three individuals remain unclear. Robert J. Contee, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, told reporters that more information will be released when the individuals are seen by a medical examiner, but noted that “there was some type of medical emergency for each of them.”