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In election certification, loyal soldier Pence torn between Trump, constitution

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WASHINGTON (AP) — He has been President Donald Trump’s most loyal soldier, dutifully backing the unpredictable leader and largely avoiding his ire.

Now Vice President Mike Pence finds himself in the most precarious position of his tenure as he prepares to preside over Wednesday’s congressional tally of Electoral College votes, the last front in Trump’s futile attempts to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.

Seated on the House of Representatives’ rostrum, Pence will bear witness to the formalization of Trump’s — and his own — election defeat, as tellers from the House and Senate record states’ electoral votes. At the end of the count, it will be his job to announce who has won the majority of votes for both president and vice president.

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But Pence, whose proscribed role is largely pro forma, is under intense pressure from the president and legions of supporters who want the vice president to use the moment to overturn the will of the voters in a handful of critical battleground states. US Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, January 3, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

“I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you,” Trump said at a rally Monday night in Georgia for candidates in two Senate runoff elections.

“Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much,” Trump added, drawing laughs. He said Pence was “going to have a lot to say about it. And you know one thing with him, you’re going to get straight shots. He’s going to call it straight.”

Trump continued to pile on Tuesday, tweeting that Pence “has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.” The Constitution does not grant the vice president any such power — it is up to the House and Senate to voice objections — and states’ electors were chosen in accordance with state law, not fraudulently.

Pence has nonetheless spent hours huddling with the president, staff and the Senate parliamentarian ahead of Wednesday’s........

© The Times of Israel

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