“[Mike] Pence will be in jail awaiting trial for treason. He will face execution by firing squad. He is a coward & will sing like a bird & confess ALL.” That threat to the United States’ vice president was spewed by Donald Trump loyalist Attorney Lin Wood. The reason Wood tweeted to have Mike Pence executed is that, on Wednesday, he will preside over a joint session of Congress where the electoral college votes are counted, and he will officially certify Joe Biden as the 46th President Of The United States.
As Vice President, Mike Pence has the purely ceremonial job of counting the certified electoral votes for President, yet this makes him a target. Voting has ended, all 50 states have certified their votes, all legal challenges have run out of “Safe Harbor”; the 2020 presidential election is over. The Constitution does not afford the VP the power to ignore the votes of the states. Still, some Trump supporters are holding out hope that Pence will refuse to introduce electors for President-Elect Joe Biden in crucial swing states, thereby blocking his ascension to the presidency.
This blind, dangerous, and some have argued seditious behavior has also infected sitting members of Congress. A group of a dozen or so senators, in direct opposition of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, announced they would object to the vote certification unless an “emergency 10-day audit” of the election returns in the “disputed states” is completed. Also, Texas GOP Congressman Louie Gohmert filed a lawsuit against Pence, alleging that the Vice President has sole discretion to determine which electors are counted. On Friday, Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump-appointed judge, threw out the suit, saying the plaintiffs don’t have the grounds to file it.
In addition to the threats and lawsuits, the President is also exerting pressure on his VP to thwart the electoral college vote. Trump has repeatedly raised with his faithful vice president the notion he could delay or obstruct the Electoral College certification. The president, based on arguments from a fringe set of lawyers and certain White House officials, has argued that instead of merely acting in his constitutionally-prescribed pro forma role, Pence could delay the certification beyond Wednesday and ultimately force the question of who won the election to either the House of Representatives or the Supreme Court.
Trump took his closed-door overtures up a notch during his recent Georgia rally where he openly pressured Pence. “I hope Mike Pence comes through for us. I have to tell you. I hope that our great Vice-President, our great Vice-President, comes through for us. He’s a great guy,” Trump stated, then quickly added, “Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.” Though his remarks were lighthearted, Trump has a history of holding grudges against those who do not show ultimate loyalty. Pence is being attacked by those he once called allies, and his choice has been made clear, either make Trump president again, or the VP’s political life is over.