In his first comments since Monday night’s indictment of former President Donald Trump on 13 counts related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, former Vice President Mike Pence reiterated that the election was not stolen.
“Despite what the former president and his allies have said for now more than two and a half years and continue to insist… the Georgia election was not stolen and I had no right to overturn the election on Jan. 6,” said the former vice president emphasized while speaking in front of a large gathering of state lawmakers meeting in Indianapolis at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Pointing to his former running mate, Pence said “no one is above law.”
“And the president and all those implicated are entitled to the presumption of innocence,” he added.
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Former Vice President Mike Pence, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, addresses a gathering for state lawmakers at the National Conference of State Legislatures, on August 16, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Mike Pence presidential campaign)
The indictment from federal prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia accused the former president of “knowingly and willfully join[ing] a conspiracy” with a large group, including some of his former top aides, “to change the outcome of the election.”
Georgia was one of a half dozen states that President Biden narrowly carried to defeat Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.
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On Tuesday, hours after Trump was indicted for the fourth time this year, the former president claimed he had evidence showing “election fraud” in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election and teased that he would share details at a news conference on Monday.
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump waves to supporters at the Iowa Pork Producers tent during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (AP )
The move by Trump prompted conservative Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia — who certified the 2020 election in his state against the then-president’s wishes — to push back against Trump’s unproven claims.
“For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward — under oath — and prove anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor,” Kemp wrote on social media.
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Pence noted those comments from Kemp on Wednesday, as he reiterated that he had no right to overturn the 2020 election in his constitutional role as vice president overseeing congressional certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021.
Former Vice President Mike Pence teams up with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia at a rally on the eve of the state’s primary, on May 23, 2022 in Cobb County, Georgia (Fox News )
“And I’ll always believe by God’s grace, I did my duty that day to see to the peaceful transfer of power under the Constitution of the United States and the laws of this country,” Pence said to applause.
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Trump was indicted in Georgia two weeks after he was arraigned in federal court in the nation’s capital on charges he aimed overturn his loss in the 2020 election. The federal indictment was tied to Trump’s actions and state of mind on Jan. 6, 2021, and in the lead-up to that infamous day — when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. The attack temporarily disrupted congressional certification of President Biden’s victory over Trump.
Pence was at the Capitol at the time it was attacked, overseeing the joint session of Congress. He was forced, along many members of Congress, to temporarily flee to safety as the rioters — some chanting that the then-vice president should be hanged — stormed the Capitol. Pence has taken plenty of wrath from Trump and his most devoted loyalists and supporters.
Pence also reiterated on Wednesday that he hopes Trump will show up at the first GOP presidential primary debate on Aug. 23, hosted by Fox News.
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The former president has yet to say if he’ll attend the showdown in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after declining to sign a Republican National Committee’s loyalty pledge, a requirement for candidates to appear on the stage.
The pledge that states that the candidates will support the GOP’s eventual presidential nominee, regardless of who it is, and that they won’t take part in any debate not sanctioned by the national party committee.