It’s fair to say few have clung to as many false hopes in such a short span of time as outgoing (and possibly flatulent) president Donald J. Trump. In between filling his Twitter feed with baseless accusations, he sometimes lodges incorrect claims about some gambit that could lead to the four more years he so desperately wants to serve. One of the most prominent has been that when Congress meets on January 6 to ratify Joe Biden’s presidential win, his vice president, Mike Pence, can simply overturn it. Finally, the day before, Pence allegedly broke the news to him that, no, that’s not true either.
Sources told The New York Times that during his weekly lunch with the president, Pence had to belatedly point out that his role at the joint session between the House and Senate is largely formal. He does not, Trump learned, have the unilateral power to alter results sent to Congress by the states, all of whom long ago certified their votes.
It’s unclear how Trump reacted. Did he flip the lunch table, sending his Filet-O-Fish into Pence’s tartar sauce-drenched face? Did he deflate like a balloon? Did he calmly absorb the news, accepting the grim legal and economic fate that awaits him after January 20? Almost certainly not the latter, but the first two are in the realm of possibilities.
Pence, however, did tell Trump that, as per the NYT, “he would keep studying the issue up until the final hours before the joint session of Congress begins at 1 p.m.” But that sound suspiciously like him trying to calm him with a comforting lie.
Mind you, Wednesday’s joint session is bound to be a nightmare anyway, given how many congress members have vowed to raise Cain over Biden’s clear win. As per NYT:
In a process that is likely to go on for many hours, Mr. Pence will preside on Wednesday over a roll call of the states. If at least one senator and one House member object to the results from a state, they can force a debate of up to two hours about those results. Each chamber will then vote separately on whether to certify that state’s results.
Sounds exhausting! But at least that, too, will only be a formality, if one that wastes gobs of time:
For results to be overturned, both the House and the Senate would have to agree to do so. Because the House is controlled by the Democrats, there is no realistic possibility of any state’s outcome being rejected. In addition, many if not most Senate Republicans appear likely to join all Democrats in rejecting challenges to the results.
But truly the only ones it will affect will be both chambers of Congress as well as Pence, who will likely have to spend an inordinate amount of time listening to nonsense before formalizing what’s been known since early November: Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and Donald Trump lost.
(Via The New York Times)