Attendees of a conservative conference in Florida heckled Former Vice President Mike Pence with boos and calls of “traitor” during his speech.
Pence spoke at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to the Majority” conference in Orlando, Florida, on Friday. The former vice president has been on rocky relations with former President Donald Trump and some of his supporters since Pence certified the election for President Joe Biden on Jan. 6.
“Well, hello America! It is great to be back with so many patriots dedicated to faith and freedom and the road to the majority,” Pence told the crowd to cheers and applause. As he continued speaking, other voices from the crowd broke in with boos and calls of “traitor.”
Former VP Mike Pence heckled with calls of ‘traitor’ at conservative conference pic.twitter.com/SGMCiSmSDG
— The Hill (@thehill) June 18, 2021
As Trump continued his fight to challenge the election in January, he pushed his vice president to reject “fraudulently chosen electors.” Pence was responsible for overseeing Congress’s counting of the electors and certifying the election for Biden, a traditionally ceremonial position.
Pence refused to follow Trump’s directives, writing in a letter to Congress that he believed he did not have the constitutional authority to do as Trump wanted. After the election was certified for Biden on January 6, Trump slammed Pence in a since-removed tweet saying, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving states the chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify.”
The election debacle reportedly created a rift between Pence and Trump, and some of Trump’s supporters have criticized Pence for, as they see it, refusing to protect the integrity of the U.S. election. Pence recognized the allegations of voter fraud, but insisted that he did not have the power to reject electors that had been lawfully certified by the individual states. He wrote in part in a letter to Congress:
Given the controversy surrounding this year’s election, some approach this year’s quadrennial tradition with great expectation, and others with dismissive disdain. Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally. Others believe that electoral votes should never be challenged in a Joint Session of Congress.
After a careful study of our Constitution, our laws, and our history, I believe neither view is correct.
The President is the chief executive officer of the Federal Government under our Constitution, possessing immense power to impact the lives of the American people. The Presidency belongs to the American people, and to them alone. When disputes concerning a presidential election arise, under Federal law, it is the people’s representatives who review the evidence and resolve disputes through a democratic process.
Our Founders were deeply skeptical of concentrations of power and created a Republic based on separation of powers and checks and balances under the Constitution of the United States.
Vesting the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide presidential contests would be entirely antithetical to that design. As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority. Instead, Vice Presidents presiding over Joint Sessions have uniformly followed the Electoral Count Act, conducting the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy.
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