Former Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News on Monday he still greatly regrets how his once close relationship with Donald Trump deteriorated quickly after he refused to back down from his view there was no Constitutional maneuver to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“I have to tell you that as different as the two of us are, President Trump and I actually forged a close working relationship. He was not just my president. He was my friend,” Pence recalled.
“We literally spent time together every day when we were both at the White House, sometimes up to 4 hours.”
Pence said he and Trump initially parted “amicably” even in the wake of the January 6 riot, but that Trump’s later return to biting public criticisms and accusations against Pence – in terms of his role as presiding officer of the Senate during the electoral count – led him to part ways permanently.
Some Republicans had believed the 1960 Presidential Election in Hawaii represented a precedent for submitting a second slate of electors from states where advocates believed there were errors afoot. That year, then-Republican majority Hawaii saw Republicans approve a slate and Democrats approve an uncertified slate of electors for Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy respectively.
Democrats prevailed in a December recount and sent a third slate of Kennedy electors certified by Republican Gov. William Quinn, which were ultimately accepted by then-Vice President Nixon – sitting in Pence’s position – on January 6, 1961.
Critics further analyzed the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which itself came following Republican President Rutherford Hayes’ disputed election win against former New York Democratic Gov. Samuel Tilden.
“It’s part of what made what happened at the end so difficult,” the Indiana Republican said of how the reaction to that disagreement broke his and Trump’s once strong relationship.
“I knew what my duty was under the Constitution of the United States. I made that clear many times over to the president. But he had legal advisers around him that were telling him something different. And we ended up having to have a disagreement, a very loud disagreement in public.”
“What made that even more difficult is because literally every step of the way – from the day I was added to the national ticket all the way until Election Day 2020 – we had a strong, close working relationship that was built on mutual respect.”
“Last fall, when we got together, We parted amicably. And we spoke a number of times after I left office. But frankly, when the President returned to some of the rhetoric about me and others who had taken a stand for the Constitution, I thought it was best that we just go our separate ways.”
Unlike Biden, he said he and Trump didn’t just “talk” to world rivals like China’s Xi Jinping – they acted:
“We imposed $250 billion in tariffs. We strengthened our military alliances in the region. We maintained freedom of navigation, held them accountable for intellectual property theft,” he said.
Pence cited several other accomplishments he and Trump forged together, notably what he characterized as “rallying back” after the Senate failed to repeal Obamacare by Arizonan John McCain’s famous thumbs-down nay-vote.
“But then to see the way, with the president’s leadership, we rallied back and we cut taxes and really restored the strength and vitality of this country,” he said.