Perhaps it’s time to scrap the insinuation that Mike Pence was the hero who bravely saved democracy on January 6 when he refused Trump’s relentless press to overturn the states’ electoral votes in the 2020 election.
If the account portrayed by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in the book “Peril” is truthful, another Indiana politician and former Vice President should be hailed as the savior of American democracy.
Over and over, Pence asked if there was anything he could do.
“‘Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away,’ Quayle told him.”Pence pressed again.”‘You don’t know the position I’m in,’ he said, according to the authors.”‘I do know the position you’re in,’ Quayle responded. ‘I also know what the law is. You listen to the parliamentarian. That’s all you do. You have no power.'”
It’s hard to imagine where we might be if Dan Quayle had not rendered this sage advice, leading Pence to tell the occupant of the Oval Office on January 5 that there was nothing he could do to appease him.
“If these people say you had the power, wouldn’t you want to?” Trump asked.”I wouldn’t want any one person to have that authority,” Pence said. “But wouldn’t it be almost cool to have that power?” Trump asked, according to Woodward and Costa. “No,” Pence said. He went on, “I’ve done everything I could and then some to find a way around this. It’s simply not possible. “When Pence did not budge, Trump turned on him. “No, no, no!” Trump shouted, according to the authors. “You don’t understand, Mike. You can do this. I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this.”
While it’s been documented that Pence told his security detail that he would not allow himself to be removed from the Capitol as the mob raged around them, Jamie Raskin (D-Md), member of the January 6 Commission, suggests there will be a more intense investigation into what Pence knew about the attempted coup.
“We need to look and see how far things went in 2020 in order to determine what correctives we need to make for 2024,” Raskin said. “Trump wanted to exploit every vulnerability and booby trap in the electoral college.”
Raskin points out the efforts of Trump to oust any state level Republicans in 2022 and 2024 who were not loyal to Trump in the 2020 election, and suggests that a more loyal group of Republicans could succeed in subverting an election in the next opportunity.
“The electoral college system is a creaky antique, but it worked so long as everyone basically agreed to honor the popular vote in the states as controlling the award of electoral college votes,” Raskin said. “The moment that understanding is breached, at that point all bets are off.”
“So the question is whether we can put the genie of coup and insurrection back in the bottle,” Raskin continued, “or whether we need fundamental and sweeping reform of the electoral college system in order to guarantee that we have a dependable democratic election.”