'You have no power': Former VP Dan Quayle told Mike Pence he had to certify the 2020 election after getting pressure to overturn it by Trump, new book claims
- Dan Quayle served as the US vice president from 1989 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush.
- A Republican, Quayle also served as a US senator from Indiana between 1981 and 1989.
- He had advice for Mike Pence in 2020 as Trump stirred falsehoods about the presidential election.
Desperate to please his boss, who wanted him to effectively overturn the results of the 2020 election, Vice President Mike Pence turned to one of his predecessors, Dan Quayle, for advice, according to a new book by the reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
Was there anything he could do to block President-elect Joe Biden's victory?
"Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away," Quayle, who served as vice president under President George H.W. Bush, told him, CNN reported, citing the book.
President Donald Trump had wanted Pence to block the certification of his electoral loss on January 6, saying he had the power "to reject fraudulently chosen electors." In their book, "Peril," Woodward and Costa write that Pence was torn.
"You don't know the position I'm in," Pence told Quayle, the book says.
According to the US Constitution, the winner of the presidency is the person who receives "a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed." In a 2020 report, the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the federal government, said it had "not identified any instances in which this issue has become a source of contention."
The vice president, in their ceremonial role as president of the Senate, formally ratifies Congress' certification of the vote in the Electoral College.
That is what Quayle reminded his fellow Republican, the book says.
"I do know the position you're in," Quayle told Pence, according to the book. "I also know what the law is. You listen to the parliamentarian. That's all you do. You have no power."
Biden's victory was ultimately verified on January 7, a day after a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol and broke up a joint session of Congress.
During the riot, Pence refused to leave the Capitol in a car being driven by members of the Secret Service, appearing to fear they would transport somewhere he would not be able to fulfill his constitutional duties.
"I trust you, Tim, but you're not driving the car," he told his top security agent, according to a book by the Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig. "If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off. I'm not getting in the car."
Pence's national security advisor, Gen. Keith Kellogg, feared the same, the book says. "Leave him where he's at. He's got a job to do," he told a Secret Service official, according to the book. "I know you guys too well. You'll fly him to Alaska if you have a chance."