In his first public remarks since President Joe Biden’s inauguration, former Vice President Mike Pence is pushing falsehoods about election security in an op-ed he authored for The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Of particular ire to Pence is Democrats’ first major bill of the 116th Congress, the For The People Act. The legislation contains reforms surrounding voting rights, elections, campaign finance and ethics designed to expand voting access, curb the influence of dark money, and limit partisan gerrymandering.
Or, as Pence characterized it: an “unconstitutional, reckless, and anti-democratic bill that would erode [free and fair elections] and could permanently damage our republic.”
In making his argument, Pence began with the lie, repeated ad nauseam by former President Donald Trump and his followers, that the 2020 election was marred by “significant voting irregularities.”
There’s zero evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Trump and his allies filed more than 60 election lawsuits seeking to overturn the election results on that basis. All were dismissed for lack of merit. An inquiry by Trump’s Justice Department also concluded there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election.
Yet the falsehood continues to serve as a rallying cry for much of the Republican Party ― one that Trump used to goad his supporters into violently attacking the U.S. Capitol and democracy itself on Jan. 6.
Pence briefly referred to that day in his op-ed, describing it as “tragic.” He failed to acknowledge that members of the mob were chanting “hang Mike Pence” as they roamed the Capitol Building, apparently looking for him to violently persuade him not to certify the results of the 2020 election.
Instead, Pence lamented that the violence “deprived the American people of a substantive discussion in Congress about election integrity in America.”
That sets the tone for the rest of his column, which uses Trump’s election lies to argue in favor of new laws disenfranchising voters that Republicans are pushing across the country in the wake of their 2020 defeats.
Pence also called for unity and urged “our nation’s leaders to help America heal.” Notably, he doesn’t mention Trump, or acknowledge his own role in four deeply divisive and antagonistic years in U.S. history.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.