Asked during an event at the University of Iowa who had told him to buck Trump’s plan, Pence responded, “James Madison.”
The former vice president also cited the Bible, saying, “Psalm 15 says he who keeps his oath even when it hurts.”
He noted that he had written a letter to Congress expressing concern over voting in some states.
But, he added, “the only role of the federal government is to open and count the electoral votes that were sent by the states. You’ve got to be willing to do your duty.”
The comments add new insight into Pence’s mindset on January 6, when he presided over Congress as it affirmed Biden’s victory. When Pence refused to intervene, Trump turned on his vice president, attacking him on Twitter even as the insurrection at the US Capitol was unfolding.
The 2020 election certification was the only clear break Pence made with the former President he served loyally for four years — and whose mantle he may like to take up in the 2024 presidential race. That goal is complicated by the open possibility Trump could run again himself, and the blame that Trump’s most loyal supporters ascribe to Pence for failing to overturn the election.