According to an excerpt from Pence’s new book published on Wednesday, former President Donald Trump repeatedly told former Vice President Mike Pence not to “wimp out” that is, not to certify the results of the 2020 election in the final weeks of their administration.
“Why would you oppose it if it gives you power?” Trump reportedly asked Pence about a lawsuit filed by House Republicans that would have given Pence sole authority over election results.
The former vice president recounts being chastised by Trump for refusing to sway the election results in their administration’s favor in the excerpt published in The Wall Street Journal.
Pence’s book, “So Help Me God,” is set to be released next Tuesday, the same day Trump, who is widely expected to run for president again, has said he will make a “very big announcement.”
“‘You can be a historic figure, but if you wimp out, you’re just another somebody,’” Pence said Trump told him after the 2020 election. Pence also wrote that Trump warned him that if he certified the election results on Jan. 6, 2021, he would “go down as a wimp.”
Pence reaffirmed in his commentary that he welcomed debate and challenges to the 2020 presidential election results, but that he did not believe he should reject electors unilaterally.
“‘You’re too honest,’” Pence said Trump told him in early January 2021. “‘Hundreds of thousands are gonna hate your guts. … People are gonna think you’re stupid.’”
Pence claimed that Trump’s lawyer, John Eastman, “stammered” when he said it was “an open question” whether Pence had the authority to reject votes. Pence later found that Eastman, too, thought rejecting electoral votes was a “bad idea,” according to the former vice president’s letter.
“This guy didn’t even believe what he was telling the president,” Pence wrote of Eastman.
Pence also discussed his experiences inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, during the insurgency.
When he first saw “protesters standing peacefully,” Pence said, he “felt compassion for all the good people who had traveled to Washington having been told that the outcome of the election could be changed.”
“I turned to my daughter and sighed: ‘God bless those people. They’re gonna be so disappointed,’” Pence recounted of the early parts of Jan. 6.
Pence recounted a conversation with Trump less than a week later, during which Trump stated that he “just learned” Pence’s family was in the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“‘Were you scared?’” Pence said Trump asked.
“‘No. I was angry,’” Pence said he responded.
Pence said Trump wondered aloud, “with genuine sadness in his voice,” what would have happened if he hadn’t held the Jan. 6 rally or if people hadn’t rallied to the Capitol.
“‘It’s too terrible to end like this,’” Pence recalled Trump as saying.