Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, who is being floated as a possible running mate to Donald Trump in 2024, signaled if she had been serving as vice president in 2020 she wouldn’t have certified the election results.
“I would not have done what Mike Pence did,” Stefanik said.
Stefanik made the comments Thursday night during an appearance on CNN’s “The Source” with Kaitlan Collins. Collins asked Stefanik if she’d been part of any vetting process yet with the Trump team.
“I would be proud to serve in a future Trump administration, but we have a lot to do,” she said, referring to priorities for House Republicans and her role as conference chair.
Stefanik was later asked what she would’ve done if she were in Pence’s shoes on Jan. 6, 2021 — the day the congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election results was interrupted by a violent mob breaching the U.S. Capitol.
Pence, who said Trump endangered his life and his family’s lives on Jan. 6 by disparaging him in social media posts while the riot was happening, oversaw the certification of results and announced the final results: 306 votes for Biden, 232 for Trump.
“I don’t think that was the right approach,” Stefanik said of Pence.
Stefanik was one of the 147 Republicans in Congress to vote to reject the election results, though she only rejected electors from Pennsylvania, not Arizona like many other GOP lawmakers.
“So, you would have rejected the votes?” CNN’s Collins asked.
Stefanik responded by repeating false claims that there was “unconstitutional overreach in states like Pennsylvania” and that the 2020 presidential race was not a “legal and secure” election.
Pence has made clear that he did not have the authority as vice president to unilaterally reject the results. Speaking to ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl last year, Pence said “Trump is wrong” on this issue.
“I know by God’s grace, we did our duty that day, to act out the express language of the Constitution of the United States,” Pence told Karl.
Stefanik’s comments were quickly met with push back from another member of the New York delegation: Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman.
“She’s a sycophant willing to do or say anything for Trump’s approval, including sacrificing our democracy,” Goldman said in a social media post.
Also appearing on CNN, Goldman added her comments “should scare the American people because that is anti-democratic, and that is going to lead us down a very, very dangerous road if there’s a yes-person as vice president who will do whatever Donald Trump wants.”
Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, also criticized Stefanik as “incorrect.”
“The Constitution gives you no power — you being the vice president — no power to decertify the election,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash.
In addition to Stefanik, other names that have been mentioned as possible vice president contenders are South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.