- President Donald Trump has long benefited from the loyalty of Vice President Mike Pence.Â
- â€¨But Trump may have pushed Pence too far this week by repeatedly demanding that Pence try to block the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential win.
- That, combined with Trump’s move to rile up his supporters before they breached the US Capitol, seems to have exposed cracks within their partnership.
- â€¨Pence is said to be angry with Trump but has yet to agree with invoking the 25th Amendment, a possible but perhaps unlikely way to remove Trump from power.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Vice President Mike Pence has been between a rock and an increasingly angry president this week as Donald Trump has finally turned on his vice president over his failure to engineer Trump’s reelection.
Top aides have said that Trump has been spiraling out of control for weeks, but now he’s directed much of his ire toward his heretofore loyal vice president.
Earlier this week, Pence endured a lunch with Trump in which he tried to explain that he lacked the constitutional authority to block the certification of Biden’s election win. Further, in a January 6 letter, he told Trump: “It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”
The president was furious, and reportedly told Pence: “I don’t want to be your friend, I want you to be the vice president.”
Overtures of friendship may not have mattered as much to Pence after Wednesday when Trump seemed to at one point turn his angry mob on the vice president.Â
During Wednesday’s White House rally, Trump told the crowd that “Mike Pence is gonna have to come through for us. And if it doesn’t, that will be a sad day for our country.”
Trump also took to Twitter to jab at Pence. “If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. He has the absolute right to do it,” he wrote in a tweet that was later deleted by Twitter for being factually incorrect.
As the mob made its way toward the Capitol building they erupted in a boisterous chant: “Where is Mike Pence?”
It turned out Mike Pence was at the Capitol building and had to be secretly ferreted out as the pro-Trump mob arrived. He later returned to announce that the Biden-Harris ticket had officially been certified as the winners of the 2020 election.
In the midst of the melee, Trump also found time to bar Pence’s Chief of Staff Mark Short from the White House, seemingly blaming Short for giving Pence the advice to certify Biden’s win.
Trump is looking for anyone to blame but himself
Trump’s scapegoating of Pence was said to have deeply angered the normally even-keeled VP.Â
Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma told reporters on Capitol Hill that he’d never seen the vice president so angry. “I’ve known Mike Pence forever. I’ve never seen Pence as angry as he was today.”
“I had a long conversation with him,” Inhofe continued. “He said, ‘After all the things I’ve done for [Trump].'”
A source told CNN:Â “Was [Trump] concerned at all that an angry mob that he commanded to march on the Capitol might injure the vice president or his family?”
Pence had previously enjoyed what Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, described to The Washington Post as “a durable, close relationship with the president,” despite their clear stylistic differences and beliefs.
In the last days of his presidency, though, Trump appears to be struggling with retaining friends and colleagues. In just the last 24 hours, Education Secretary Betsy Devos, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and officials from the Department of Commerce and National Security Council have all resigned following the siege of the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.Â
There have been demands from Democratic leadership to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office and have Pence temporarily take over the president’s duties. So far, Pence has refused to echo the call, as Insider reported, though it appears Trump is doing as much as possible to antagonize Pence and make him the scapegoat for his election loss.Â
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” he tweeted Wednesday afternoon before his Twitter suspension.
Pence also turned to Twitter for a more indirect snipe at Trump and his destructive mob.Â
“Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he tweeted.