“If the Vice President [Mike Pence] had ‘absolutely no right’ to change the Presidential Election results in the Senate, despite fraud and many other irregularities,” Trump said in the statement, “how come the Democrats and RINO Republicans, like Wacky Susan Collins, are desperately trying to pass legislation that will not allow the Vice President to change the results of the election?”
”Actually, what they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away,” he continued. “Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!”
No one has any excuse ever again to pretend that Trump was doing anything but attempting to overturn the election, because he just said so in so many words. He did not dance around it at all. Of course, there wasn’t really any excuse to pretend otherwise before now. But Trump has just demolished the last teeny tiny little shred of cover for, say, “objective” media types who think it would be somehow unfair or partisan to accurately describe what Republicans are doing when what they’re doing is really really bad. And anyone who continues to support Trump, anyone who says they’re going to vote for him in 2024, is saying that they support someone who has openly tried to dismantle U.S. democracy.
Trump’s Sunday statement came after he said at a Saturday rally that he would pardon Jan. 6 insurrectionists if he returned to the White House.
“If I run and I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly,” he said, making clear that “fairly” doesn’t mean collecting evidence and charging them with any crimes they committed when he continued, “And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons. Because they are being treated so unfairly.”
Trump’s weekend of blasting out that yes, he really did try to overturn the election and supported violence to do so came as evidence continues to emerge that the coup attempt was widespread through the Republican Party and took multiple forms. False electoral certificates created in several states to give congressional Republicans and Pence cover for claiming that the results of the election were disputed are getting more attention, with federal prosecutors investigating.
But Trump’s efforts to overturn the election—to do so knowing that he did not have the votes—have been out in the open for well over a year at this point. All legitimate doubt that what was going on was more than sour grapes and purposeless flailing disappeared when Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ask him to “find 11,780 votes.” Yet somehow Team Trump’s slate of different strategies to keep Trump in power despite his decisive election loss continues to be treated as something not serious, not real, while the people pointing out that it was indeed a coup attempt are treated as maybe hysterical, maybe just engaged in cynical Democratic partisanship.
We have Trump’s words, though. “Unfortunately, [Pence] didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!” And if Trump can regain the power to do so—by whatever means—“we will give [the January 6 defendants] pardons.” Which sounds a lot like a promise to pardon anyone who helps him reclaim the White House, intended to encourage his supporters to put their bodies on the line in the next coup attempt.
As Rep. Zoe Lofgren responded to Trump’s insistence that a sitting vice president can overturn an election, though, things would be a lot simpler if that were true. “I guess the former president is saying that the vice president gets to choose the next president, in which case Kamala Harris will be presiding at the counting of the votes, and I guess he’s saying she gets to choose who the next president is,” she said on CNN. “That’s clear to me, not what the Constitution provides for. He must be kidding.” Except he’s not. He’s deadly serious.