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Pence Says the Bible and James Madison Convinced Him to Certify Electoral Votes in 2020 Election

Michael Foust | Crosswalk Headlines Contributor | Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Pence Says the Bible and James Madison Convinced Him to Certify Electoral Votes in 2020 Election

Pence Says the Bible and James Madison Convinced Him to Certify Electoral Votes in 2020 Election

Former Vice President Mike Pence says the words of Scripture and those of a Founding Father convinced him to certify the electoral votes for President Biden against the wishes of then-President Donald Trump.

Pence made the comments Monday during an appearance at the University of Iowa's Young America's Foundation campus lecture series, nearly 10 months after Trump unsuccessfully pressured Pence to get involved and block the certification of the 2020 election.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the vice president oversees the counting of electoral votes in a joint session of Congress.

"The Constitution is very clear that elections are to be governed at the state level," Pence said at the University of Iowa. "The Founders actually made that decision at the Constitutional Convention. And the only role of the federal government was to open and count the electoral votes that were sent by the states. Now, I understand the disappointment in the election. You might remember I was on the ballot. But you've got to be willing to do your duty."

During a Q&A session, Pence was asked by an audience member a question about the Jan. 6 certification. Trump had argued the vice president could reject electoral votes.

"On Jan. 5, you were convinced that the election was … stolen," the audience member said. "You Trump, [administration official] Peter Navarro, John Eastman and others had a plan on the morning of the 6th to send the certification back to the States. … On the night of the 5th or the morning of the 6th, someone in the White House convinced you that it would destroy your hopes of becoming president if you sent the Senate back to the states. My question is: What is the name of the person who told you to buck President Trump's plan and certify the votes?"

Pence answered, "James Madison" before adding, "virtually everything you recited relative to me is false." Madison is often called the "father" of the U.S. Constitution.

Pence also quoted Psalm 15:4, which references a person who "keeps an oath even when it hurts."

"On that day in January, I wrote a letter to the Congress I'd recommend anybody here read," Pence said. "I expressed my concern about irregularities that took place in the election in a number of states. And I continue to share those concerns, and I support efforts in states to improve voter integrity as has been done in places like Georgia and Arizona and elsewhere."

The 12th Amendment of the Constitution says of the process: "The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; – The person having the greatest number of votes for President shall be the President." The vice president is the president of the Senate.

Pence, in his January letter, referenced the Founders and said "investing the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide presidential contests would be entirely antithetical" to the Founders' design.

"I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority," Pence wrote in the letter. "Instead, Vice Presidents presiding over Joint Sessions have uniformly followed the Electoral Count Act, conducting the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy."


Pence Says He Won't Block Biden Certification: 'I Will Keep the Oath I Made to Almighty God'

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Scott Eisen/Stringer

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Pence Says the Bible and James Madison Convinced Him to Certify Electoral Votes in 2020 Election