On Wednesday, POLITICO reported that a new book from former Vice President Mike Pence reveals how former President Donald Trump tried to force him to agree to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
"Former President Donald Trump repeatedly told former Vice President Mike Pence not to 'wimp out' — that is to say, not to certify the results of the 2020 election — in the final weeks of their administration, according to an excerpt from Pence’s new book published on Wednesday," reported Olivia Olander. "'If it gives you the power, why would you oppose it?' Trump reportedly asked Pence, about a lawsuit from House Republicans that would have allowed Pence to have exclusive authority over the election results."
The Wall Street Journal was first to report the line from Pence's book, "So Help Me God."
"“You can be a historic figure, but if you wimp out, you’re just another somebody," Trump told Pence, according to the book. He added that if he doesn't, he'll "go down as a wimp". In early January, just days before the certification vote and the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Trump told Pence, "You’re too honest. Hundreds of thousands are gonna hate your guts ... People are gonna think you’re stupid."
The push for Pence to overthrow the results was part of a plan laid out by pro-Trump attorney John Eastman in an infamous memo, which advocated for Trump allies to declare themselves fake electors in swing states carried by Biden, and Pence to use those fake electors as a pretext for throwing out the real ones and swinging the election to Trump — or at least, to a vote of the House, where Republicans controlled enough state delegations to choose Trump in such a vote.
Pence ultimately concluded, on the advice of conservative Judge Michael Luttig, that this plan was illegal and he had no authority over the vote count, merely a ceremonial role. Even Eastman himself privately admitted to Trump that his plan lacked any legal basis.