Former President Donald Trump has argued that the Russian invasion of Ukraine “never would have happened” if former Vice President Mike Pence had overturned President Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.
Trump said in a statement on Thursday night just before a prime-time hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol that Pence’s unwillingness to block Biden’s win on the day of the riot was responsible for everything from the war, to inflation, high gas prices and the botched withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The former president also shared the statement to his Truth Social account as the hearing was airing live.
Trump’s statement said that Pence had told him “and everybody else” that “there was nothing he could do about the Electoral Vote Count–it was etched in stone.” Trump argued that Pence was incorrect since “the Democrats and RINOs,” or Republicans in name only, were currently “working so hard to make sure there is nothing a VP can do” to change an election outcome.
Bipartisan legislation was introduced on Wednesday that would reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and ensure that a vice president can only count Electoral College vote tallies based on the choice of the voters in each state.
Trump said that “all” he had “suggested” that Pence do while presiding over the January 6 joint session of Congress that certified Biden’s win—which was interrupted when a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol—was to “send the slates back to the States,” where they would have been subject to “possible retabulation and correction based on largescale Voter Fraud and Irregularities.” The former president said that Pence refusing to do so “may have proven to be an Election-changing event.”
“We would have no inflation, inexpensive gasoline, be energy dominant, have no war or largescale death with Russia and Ukraine (this conflict never would have happened), would have left Afghanistan on same timetable, but with dignity and strength,” Trump said. “And would have kept Bagram Air Base, not had dead soldiers, taken out all American hostages, and would not have given the Taliban $85 billion worth of first-class military equipment.”
“What a difference it would have made if the State Legislatures had another crack at looking at all of the Fraud, Abuse, and Irregularities that have been found,” he added. “Our Country would have been a different place!”
Nearly two years after losing to Biden, Trump has continued to maintain, without any credible evidence, that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. The former president’s anger toward Pence for refusing to overturn the election results has been evident since the January 6 attack, when he tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution” as rioters were inside the Capitol.
Tensions between Trump and Pence have continued to escalate since both left office, reaching a new height in February after Pence said that Trump was “wrong” to claim that he had a “right to overturn the election” and promote the “un-American… notion that any one person could choose the American president.”
Trump has confirmed that Pence will not be his running mate if he launches a 2024 campaign for the presidency, which he is heavily rumored to be considering. Pence is also said to be considering launching his own bid for the White House. Both are expected to attend campaign events for rival candidates in the Arizona GOP gubernatorial primary election early next month.
The former running mates have also been at odds over the Russia-Ukraine war. Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “genius” and “savvy” just before Ukraine was invaded on February 24. He continued to praise Putin as “very smart” after the war began, although he later said that he “overplayed his hand” by invading Ukraine.
Pence has said that Putin was the “one person to blame” for the Ukraine war. He has also boasted that he “stood toe to toe with” with the Russian leader and “told him things he didn’t want to hear” during previous encounters.
Newsweek reached out to Pence’s office for comment.