Hours after President Trump falsely declared to the world that Vice President Mike Pence “has the power” to change the results of the Nov. 3 election, Pence sat down with Trump and tried to break it to him that he does not believe he can block President-elect Joe Biden’s win, The New York Times reports. Sources cited by the Times said the conversation took place during their weekly lunch, though no details were available on Trump’s reaction. Trump was quick to release a statement of his own late Tuesday disputing the Times report and insisting that he and Pence are “in total agreement” about the vice president having the power to overturn the election. “He never said that,” Trump said about the Times’ reporting on Pence’s apparent reluctance to defy the Constitution.
Trump has placed increasing pressure on Pence in recent days to block certification of Biden’s win as Congress meets Wednesday to count and certify the votes of the Electoral College, claiming earlier Tuesday that Pence can “reject fraudulently chosen electors” and thus overturn the election. The Constitution gives the vice president no such power, and his role presiding over the vote count is seen as mostly symbolic. Pence is said to be scrambling to get advice on how to find some sort of compromise that would appease the president while also not forcing him to take such unilateral action. Strangely, Pence’s last-minute reality check comes after he riled up Trump’s supporters in Georgia, hinting that the Jan. 6 session could somehow turn the tables and telling them “we will have our day come Wednesday.”