In his inaugural remarks following the indictment of former President Donald Trump on 13 charges linked to his efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results, former Vice President Mike Pence restated his stance that the election was not subject to theft.
Addressing a sizable assembly of state legislators at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Indianapolis, Pence, making his first comments since Monday night’s indictment, emphasized, “Despite assertions by the former president and his associates spanning over two and a half years, the Georgia election was not stolen, and I had no authority to overturn the election on January 6.”
Asserting that no individual is exempt from the law, Pence directed his words towards his former running mate, stating, “The president and all those implicated are entitled to the presumption of innocence.”
The indictment from federal prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, charged the former president with “knowingly and willfully participating in a conspiracy” with a considerable group, including some former top aides, “to manipulate the election outcome.”
Georgia, one of several states narrowly won by President Biden, played a pivotal role in defeating Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.
In response to Tuesday’s indictment, where Trump faced his fourth such charge this year, the former president asserted possession of evidence demonstrating “election fraud” in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election. He hinted at divulging details during a forthcoming press conference.
Trump’s action prompted Georgia’s conservative Republican Governor, Brian Kemp, who had certified the 2020 election against the former president’s wishes, to counter his unsubstantiated allegations.
Kemp conveyed on social media, “For almost three years now, no one with evidence of fraud has come forward under oath to substantiate anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair, and this will continue as long as I am governor.”
Pence referenced Kemp’s statement during his remarks, reiterating his own role as vice president, constitutionally tasked with overseeing the congressional certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021. He stressed, “By the grace of God, I believed then, as I do now, that I fulfilled my duty on that day to ensure the peaceful transfer of power in accordance with the United States Constitution and its laws.”
Trump’s indictment in Georgia followed his arraignment in federal court in Washington, D.C., for charges related to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. The federal indictment centered on Trump’s actions and mindset leading up to January 6, 2021, the day when his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, temporarily disrupting the certification of President Biden’s victory.
At that moment, Pence, overseeing the joint session of Congress, was present at the Capitol. Amid the chaos, he, along with other legislators, temporarily evacuated to safety as rioters, some demanding his hanging, breached the Capitol. Pence, a target of criticism from Trump and his steadfast followers, reaffirmed his dedication to his constitutional responsibilities.
Additionally, Pence reiterated his hopes that Trump would participate in the first GOP presidential primary debate on August 23, hosted by Fox News. Trump’s attendance remains uncertain, as he has not committed to the event, having declined to sign the Republican National Committee’s loyalty pledge, a prerequisite for appearing on the debate stage.
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