This past week has been a very busy week, with many possible newsworthy stories to discuss. However, after reading Sergey Kadinsky’s letter to the editor to a fellow columnist about writing about the Ukraine situation, I decided to mention it before getting to my main topic.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accomplished something that is rare these days: He has united Republicans and Democrats in Congress by building up troops on the border with Ukraine with the threat of invasion. Both parties have supported Biden’s tough approach to Russia, including providing additional weaponry to Ukraine, threats of severe sanctions against Russia, and moving troops into Poland and Romania, both NATO countries. Not only is the country united but there is strong support within NATO for the president’s tough approach. As usual there are exceptions, including notably Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson and Senator Josh Hawley, who support Russia. Their position got even more untenable in the last few days. It is now NATO, including the United States, supporting Ukraine. Carlson and Hawley are now on the side with the authoritarian Putin and Communist China, as China indicated their support for Russia’s position with Ukraine.
Now to my main topic: the feud between Trump and his former vice president, Mike Pence. Pence has been trying to be low-key about his following the law and certifying the election. However, Trump put out a statement that “Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome… Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power. He could have overturned the Election.” Then Trump put out another statement calling on the House Select Committee to investigate “Why Mike Pence did not send back the votes for recertification or approval in that it has now been shown that he clearly had the right to do so!”
Unlike most Republicans, who don’t have backbones, Pence had enough and decided to respond. Pence, in a speech before the Federalist Society, stated that “There are those who believe as presiding officer over the Congress that I possess unilateral authority to reject electoral college votes. This week, President Trump said I had the right to ‘overturn the election.’ But President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people alone. There is no idea more un-American that the notion that any one person could choose the American president. Under the constitution I had no right to change the outcome of our election and Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024. I understand the disappointment some of you feel about the last election. I was on the ballot. But whatever the future holds, I know we did our duty that day…. There is more at stake than our party or political fortunes. Men and women, if we lose our faith in the constitution, we will not just lose elections, we will lose our country.” Trump responded, “Just saw Mike Pence’s statement on the fact that he had no right to do anything with respect to the Electoral Vote Count, other than being an automatic conveyor belt for the Old Crow Mitch McConnell (Republican Senate Minority Leader) to get Biden elected President as quickly as possible.”
Pence also pushed back against Trump’s statement that he may pardon those who were arrested for their conduct on the January 2021 attack on the capital. In addition, earlier in the day of Pence’s remarks, the Republican National Committee adopted by voice vote a statement that referred to what happened at the Capitol on January 6 as “legitimate political discourse.”
Pence responded that “January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. Lives were lost. Many were injured. Thanks to the courageous action of the police and law enforcement, the violence was quelled. The Capitol was secured, and we reconvened the Congress the same day to finish our work under constitution of the United States and the laws of our country.”
The former vice president’s comments are in line with what most of the country believes. However, it is unfortunate that it is controversial in the Republican Party. For the sake of the country, more Republicans need to speak up like Mike Pence.