In a letter he issued to Congress on Wednesday morning, Vice President Mike Pence explained in straightforward detail that he will not try to oppose Democrat Joe Biden’s Electoral College vote results in the presidential election—and instead will follow the Constitution and preside over the certification of votes before the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.
“It is my considered judgment 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,” Pence wrote to Congress, in part, in his three-page letter.
Pence’s letter began making the rounds in the press and on social media while President Donald Trump was addressing a massive crowd outside the White House in Washington, D.C.—a crowd composed of thousands and thousands who came from all across the country to show their support for his presidency.
Related: Trump Maintains Election Was Stolen from Him
Congress, meanwhile, met to begin its process today of certifying the Electoral College votes state by state, with both Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) standing at the front of the chamber.
As soon as Arizona was called, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), backed by Sen. Ted. Cruz (R-TX), rose to object to the state’s electoral votes.
At that point, Vice President Pence then ended the session for the time being so that debate could begin—in separate House and Senate chambers—about the Arizona votes.
It is expected that a similar ritual will play out for the electoral votes of other contested states, perhaps Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and such, as numerous Republicans have vowed to object to certification.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) quickly rose to express his objection to such a ploy.
“The Constitution gives us here in Congress a limited role,” he said.
“The voters, the courts, and the states,” added McConnell, “have all spoken. They’ve all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever,” he said.
He emphasized that there should be a “shared respect” for the American system and called out “a separate reality” that he believes has been playing out.
“I believe that protecting our constitutional order requires respecting the limits of our own power,” McConnell also said on Wednesday.
“I will vote to respect the people’s decision and to respect our system of government as we know it,” said McConnell.
See more in the tweet below about Pence’s letter to Congress.
After Congress certified Democrat Joe Biden’s Electoral College Victory and hours after demonstrators broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, Trump pledged “an orderly transition” on Jan. 20 for the incoming administration.
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This article was written by Maureen Mackey. She is a writer, editor, and digital content strategist in the New York City area.