- Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence met weekly for lunch.
- The lunches were a chance for Pence to tell Trump “how hard he was working for him,” a new book says.
- Pence typically got 10 minutes to do this before Trump turned on the TV and described his latest grievances, according to Michael Wolff.
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Former President Donald Trump’s weekly lunches with his vice president Mike Pence at the White House followed a familiar routine, according to a forthcoming book by journalist Michael Wolff.
“The lunches were specifically meant to be an opportunity for Pence to tell the president exactly how hard he was working for him,” Wolff writes in excerpt of the book “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency” published by The Times of London. “He usually got ten minutes to do this before Trump snapped on the television and launched into his current list of grievances.”
Trump wondered how Pence “could be such a ‘stiff’ and a ‘square,” the book says, “and likewise, as though a corollary, he regarded Pence as someone not tough, as someone who, he increasingly pointed out, could be ‘rolled’.”
But after the 2020 election, Pence dismissed the argument that he, as the vice president, could reject what Trump considered to be “fraudulently chosen electors” and prevent Congress from certifying the election results. The book notes that Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s first hope was that Pence would immediately upset the election by certifying Trump as president.
The excerpt describes their discussion on January 5, the day before the insurrection by Trump supporters at the US Capitol, when Pence refused Trump’s demands to block the election of President Joe Biden.
The two were alone together in the Oval Office after their lunch had been rescheduled to a meeting, Wolff reports, and Pence listened to Trump describe the “stolen election,” but didn’t disagree with him. The former president talked of Pence’s “heroic place in history” if he did what Trump considered was right, Wolff wrote.
“Trump pressed further, in a line he would leak straight away and that he would be repeating for months to come: ‘Do you want to be a patriot or pussy?'” Wolff wrote. “Pence, not rising to the bait, repeated that, in the overwhelming opinion of those constitutional experts he had consulted, the Constitution did not give him the authority to do what the president thought he could do.”
Last month, Pence reiterated his view that the vice president has “no such authority” to reject or return electoral votes certified by the states and hit back at Trump’s continued attacks on him without mentioning the former president by name, Insider’s Tom LoBianco reported.
“The truth is there is almost no idea more un-American than the idea that one person could choose the president,” Pence told a crowd assembled at the Reagan Library in California. “The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone.”