Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said Sunday that he thinks former Vice President Mike Pence missed a “historic opportunity” when he refused to intervene in the ceremonial counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, to secure the 2020 presidential election for former President Trump.
Ramaswamy, in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” was asked whether Pence did the right thing on Jan. 6 — a question other candidates were pressed to answer on the debate stage Wednesday night, but one he managed to avoid.
“I would have done it very differently,” Ramaswamy said when asked whether Pence did the right thing. “I think that there was a historic opportunity that he missed to reunite this country in that window.”
Ramaswamy continued, providing the answer he had prepared and would have used for the debate, had the moderators pressed him to answer the question.
“What I would have said is, this is a moment for a true national consensus where there’s two elements of what’s required for a functioning democracy in America. One is secure elections, and the second is a peaceful transfer of power. When those things come into conflict, that’s an opportunity for heroism. Here’s what I would have said, we need single-day voting on Election Day. We need paper ballots, and we need government-issued ID matching the voter file. And if we achieve that, then we have achieved victory, and we should not have any further complaint about election integrity,” Ramaswamy said.
Pence faced fierce backlash from Trump and his supporters after he declined Trump’s repeated requests for Pence to reject or call into question the validity of the Electoral College votes that were cast in President Biden’s favor. Pence himself was escorted to safety on that day as Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop the process with some chanting “hang Mike Pence.”
On the debate stage, most candidates said Pence did the right thing that day. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wavered at first, before he was pressed to answer, and he conceded that Pence did his job that day and that he has no “beef” with the former vice president.