Trump, Pence meet for first time since riot

The two met Monday evening in the Oval Office and had a “good conversation,” according to a senior administration official.

By Associated Press

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence appear to have come to a détente after nearly a week of silence, anger and finger-pointing.

The two met Monday evening in the Oval Office and had a “good conversation,” according to a senior administration official.

It was their first time speaking since last Wednesday, when Trump supporters forcibly entered the Capitol building as Pence was presiding over certification of November’s election results. Pence and his family were taken to a secure location during the event.

During their conversation, the official said, Trump and Pence pledged to continue to work for “the remainder of their term” — a seeming acknowledgement that the vice president will not pursue efforts to try to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office with nine days left in his term.

On Friday, the Trump-Pence relationship was described as “pretty raw right now,” by one top GOP congressional aide, who detailed multiple phone calls in which Trump berated Pence and tried to pressure the vice president to use powers he does not possess to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Pence, for his part, was left feeling “hurt” and “upset” by the episode, according to people close to him. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

Pence’s decision to publicly defy Trump was a first for the notoriously deferential vice president, who has been unflinchingly loyal to Trump since joining the GOP ticket in 2016.

Pence has spent his tenure defending the president’s actions, trying to soothe anxious world leaders put off by Trump’s caustic rhetoric, and carefully avoiding the president’s ire.

Under normal circumstances, the vote-tallying procedure that began on Wednesday would have been a mere formality. But after losing court case after court case, and with no further options at hand, Trump and his allies zeroed in on the congressional tally as their last chance to try to challenge the race’s outcome.

In a bizarre interpretation of the law, they argued that the vice president had the unilateral power to reject Electoral College votes supporting Biden. The Constitution makes clear that only Congress has that power.

The effort effectively turned Pence into a scapegoat who could be blamed for Trump’s loss if the vice president refused to go along with the plan. Trump and his lawyers spent days engaged in an aggressive pressure campaign to force Pence to bend to their will in a series of phone calls and in-person meetings, including one that stretched for hours on Tuesday.

When Pence, who consulted with his own legal team, constitutional scholars and the Senate parliamentarian, informed Trump on Wednesday morning that he would not be going along with the effort, the president “blew a gasket,” in the words of one person briefed on the conversation.