Vice President Mike Pence said Monday that the case for widespread election fraud would be made to the American people when Congress meets this week to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump.
“We’ve all got our doubts about the last election. I share the concerns of millions of Americans about voting irregularities,” Pence said at an indoor congregation at Rock Springs Church in Milner, Ga., in support of Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in runoff elections there.
Pence, who by law will be tasked with declaring a winner of the Electoral College vote, seemed to leave open the possibility that Trump could still remain in power for a second term.
“Come this Wednesday,” he said, referring to the impending certification of election results, “we’ll have our day in Congress. We’ll hear the evidence.”
Biden won the state of Georgia by 12,000 votes, and three separate recounts have confirmed that victory. But with Trump contesting the election results, and pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” and declare him the winner, Pence’s job of turning out the vote in the two Senate runoff elections has been made more precarious.
If both Loeffler and Perdue lose to Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, the Senate will be split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a tie-breaking vote and vastly easing the path for Biden’s agenda.
“I hear some people saying, ‘Just don’t vote,’” Pence said, referring to multiple Trump loyalists who have suggested voters boycott the election. “If you don’t vote, they win.”
From the moment that Rock Springs senior pastor Benny Tate introduced him with “He’s a Christian, he’s conservative, he’s Republican, in that order,” it was clear Pence’s faith would play a significant role in his remarks. He praised the role of prayer in American life; he contended that the Trump administration had protected religious freedom; and, in one particularly applause-heavy line, he thundered, “We’re going to keep Georgia, and we’re going to save America!”
Pence also touted the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19, praising the jobs regained and the vaccines rolled out and contending that America is nearing the end stage of the pandemic. “We know what we need to do to stop the spread and flatten the curve,” he said before the indoor crowd, many of whom were unmasked.
Perhaps it was the fact that he was behind a pulpit, or perhaps he was rising to the gravity of the moment, but Pence was more animated and engaged than he’d been in most past public appearances. He spoke with the cadence of a preacher, he modulated his voice to project both sincerity and resolve, and he made absolutely sure to tie himself directly to Trump, which brought the loudest cheers of the rally.
“We’re looking to you, Georgia, we’re looking to you to hold the line,” he said, “and I believe in all my heart that you will.”
Election Day is Tuesday, with early voting already complete. FiveThirtyEight’s current average of all polls of the races has Ossoff ahead by 1.4 percentage points and Warnock ahead by 2 percentage points, though those margins have narrowed slightly since the weekend.
Pence’s rally was the second of several major visits to Georgia in the days leading up to the election. Harris spoke at a rally in Savannah on Sunday, Biden is slated to speak Monday afternoon in Atlanta, and Trump will be hosting a rally in Dalton on Monday night.
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