Pence’s Former Chief of Staff: Trump Had ‘Bad Advisers’
Marc Short, who served as chief of staff to Mike Pence, said Sunday that President Trump had “many bad advisers who were basically snake oil salesmen” at the time of the January 6 Capitol Riot.
During an appearance on Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd asked Short if the vice president had gotten legal advice that “you can’t decide which electoral votes are yes and no, but you can adjourn this session and delay things” when Congress met on January 6, 2021 to certify the Electoral College votes.
“No, Chuck. I think unfortunately the president had many bad advisers who were basically snake oil salesmen giving him really random and novel ideas as to what the vice president could do but our office researched and recognized that was never an option,” he said.
Todd asked if Short is “chalking this up to bad advisers or was the former president seeking the bad advice?”
“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Short replied. “I think that honestly he did get a lot of bad advice but I think that it was not something that the vice president — from the very beginning, he counseled the president, ‘I don’t think I have that authority, always willing to look at something that you want to send our way,’ but he never thought he had that authority.”
At the time, Trump’s legal team had encouraged Pence to either invalidate the electoral votes or delay the counting of the votes to send the voter fraud issue to the state legislatures to investigate.
Short’s comments come after the most public war of words between Pence and Trump played out last week.
Trump accused the former vice president of failing to carry out his obligation to correct the election outcome.
“If the Vice President (Mike Pence) had ‘absolutely no right’ to change the Presidential Election results in the Senate, despite fraud and many other irregularities, how come the Democrats and RINO Republicans, like Wacky Susan Collins, are desperately trying to pass legislation that will not allow the Vice President to change the results of the election?,” Trump wrote in a statement. “Actually, what they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away. Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!”
On Friday, Pence rejected Trump’s claims that he could have overturned the results of the 2020 election.
“I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election. President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone,” he said at a Federalist Society event in Florida.
“Frankly there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president,” he added.
Pence has repeatedly rejected claims that he had the authority to invalidate the Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021.
“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” Pence said in a letter to Congress at the time.
On Sunday, Short described his experience on January 6, 2021 when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress met to certify the electoral votes.
He said that the Secret Service twice tried to evacuate Pence from his office in the suite right off the Senate floor “but the vice president was resolute and said, ‘I’m not going to let the free world see us fleeing the Capitol and I’m staying.’”
The head of Pence’s security team then said the vice president must move because there was a glass door in the office. Pence was then moved to a secure location at the bottom of the Capitol.
“At one point there was an attempt to again put the vice president into a motorcade but he was clear to say, ‘That’s not a visual I want the world to see of us, of us fleeing the Capitol’ and we stayed there and worked to try to bring the business back together and complete the work that night.”
He added that at the time, he did not hear the mob chanting “hang Mike Pence,” though he was unsure if the vice president had.