In 21 days Mike Pence will have to be the one. He will have to sit as chair of a joint session of the new Congress that counts the electoral votes to officially “kill” any hope for a second term for Donald J. Trump. Vice President Pence as have all the vice presidents who ran for either president or vice president and failed will preside over his own loss and the loss of his boss. It is largely ceremonial but is has to be done as the last Constitutionally prescribed action of the process by which we choose our president and vice president every four years.
The last time we had this identical situation was in 1993 when Vice President Dan Quayle, from Indiana just like Mike Pence, presided over the loss of his boss George H. W. Bush and himself to Bill Clinton and Al Gore, respectively. I was surprised to find there is actually video of that session.
There have also been similar joint sessions where a vice president had to preside over their own loss when vying for the top job. One of the more memorable was in 2001 when after he had lost Florida by a little over 500 votes Vice President Al Gore had to preside not only over the count but rule several times that objections raised by members of the House black caucus were out of order. For an objection to be valid it has to be submitted in writing and signed by at least one member from each body. In 2001 no senator chose to sign an objection to the Florida slate of electors.
Another session that followers of the Birther movement might recall happened on January 8, 2009 when outgoing Vice President Dick Cheney presided over the session that confirmed Barack Obama as President and Joe Biden as Vice President. Birthers claimed that Cheney failed to call for objections as required in the law. Of course there were no objections because if there were they would have been submitted beforehand in writing and signed by at least one member of each body. Of course facts never got in the way of a Birther conspiracy. The claim that Cheney was in on the fix was included in several Birther lawsuits.
Yes, C-Span has that session too:
I will be watching on January 6th when Pence takes the chair. We he try to pull some shenanigans? It’s not likely. There are rules and laws in place that would prevent him from going rogue. Will there be any objections? We know there are Republican members of the House who are ready to object. However yesterday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled to his fellow Republican senators that objections would not be welcomed by the leadership.
Even if there are objections filed against electors from states won by Biden and Harris nothing happens unless a majority of each body, voting separately upholds the objection. It is not going to happen so I will not take time to speculate where it goes if an objection is upheld. A majority of Republicans in the Senate would not want to explain to millions of voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Nevada, or Arizona why their votes were not counted.
Joe Biden will be certified as the President and Kamala Harris will be certified as Vice President on January 6th. Mike Pence knows that. If he wants any future in politics he knows what he has to do. The kill has to be clean and neat. Estne officium tuum exsequaris Mr. Pence.