Donald Trump, again denying the reality of his election loss, told a rally in Georgia that he hopes that Mike Pence “comes through for us,” referring to the vice president’s role in presiding over the counting of electoral votes this week that will affirm Joe Biden’s victory.
“I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you,” Trump said. “I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president comes through for us. He’s a great guy, because if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.”
But Pence’s role is largely ceremonial as a joint session of Congress meets on Wednesday to certify the tally of the Electoral College, which met last month and voted 306-232 in favor of Biden.
Traditionally, the joint session has been merely a formality, as it is the counting of ballots cast in states weeks ago. But some of Trump’s allies in the House and the Senate say that they will object to Biden’s electors and, although that maneuver will lead to a debate, it is unlikely to prevent the certification of the results. One of Trump’s staunchest defenders, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) even sued Pence to force him to interfere and reject the Electoral College results, but courts tossed out the claim.
It is not clear what Pence could do in his role. Past incumbent vice presidents like Al Gore in 2001 and Richard Nixon in 1961, have presided over such ceremonies and have faced the bittersweet moment of affirming the victories of their campaign rivals. Pence will have the same task of announcing the names of Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the winners.
“He is going to have a lot to say about it, and you know one thing with him, you are going to get straight shots. He is going go call it straight,” Trump said.
At the Georgia rally, held on the eve of runoff elections that will determine which party gains control of the Senate, Trump quickly went into his unfounded claims that the presidential election was stolen from him.
“There was no way we lost Georgia this time,” Trump said. “That was a rigged election.”
Trump attacked Democrats at the rally, but also Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, and its secretary of state, Bred Raffensperger, because they have refused to overturn the results in their state. Over the weekend, The Washington Post posted a phone call that Trump had on Saturday with Raffensperger, in which the president pressured and even threatened him to “find” additional votes in his favor. Raffensperger refused.
Trump may have broken the law in his attempts to overturn the results, and on Monday, dozens of House Democrats signed on to a censure resolution against him.
At the rally, Trump vowed to campaign against Kemp and Raffensperger when they face reelection next year.
“I’m going to be here in a year and a half, campaigning against your governor and your crazy secretary of state,” Trump said.
Raffensperger and another top election official, Gabriel Sterling, held a press conference on Monday in which they refuted a list of conspiracy theories advanced by Trump and on news outlets like Newsmax and One America News Network.