President Donald Trump declared he will “never concede” as Congress readied to meet to tally and certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Clinging to the false idea that he won the United States election, Trump insisted to a crowd of tens of thousands gathered on Wednesday at the Ellipse near the White House that his “victory” was “stolen” by the Democrats.
“We do not want to see our election victory stolen by radical left Democrats, that’s what they’re doing, and stolen by the fake news media, that’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing,” Trump said Wednesday.
“We will never give up and never concede,” Trump said. “We will stop the steal.”
Trump then repeated his false theory that Vice President Mike Pence can block Biden’s victory during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress when it meets to count the certified electoral votes and make Biden’s election official.
“If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Trump said.
“States want to re-vote. The states got defrauded, they were given false information and now they want it back.”
“All Pence has to do is send it back to the states … and we become president, and you are the happiest people,” Trump added.
Pence, who will preside over Wednesday’s joint session of Congress, has a strictly ceremonial role, per the US Constitution.
Pence has reportedly said this to Trump, but Trump has continued to call out Pence publicly, pressuring him to take what many election law experts say would be illegal actions.
They argue that Pence does not have the constitutional or legal authority to toss out electors that have been legally certified by states. Even if Pence tried to follow Trump’s orders, any attempt would be overruled by a majority Democratic House and a Senate where several Republicans are on the record saying they will not support any efforts to subvert the election results.
One of those Republicans, Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who has spoken out against Trump for years, said that Trump’s rhetoric to overturn the election has “disgraced the office of the presidency”.
“I’m confident that we’ll proceed as the Constitution demands and tell our supporters the truth — whether or not they want to hear it,” Romney told reporters Wednesday morning, according to the Associated Press news agency.
“President Trump has disrespected the American voters, has dishonoured the election system and has disgraced the office of the presidency,” Romney said.