Mike Pence heads to Georgia Friday to promote the twin topics that have dominated his public schedule for the past two weeks: the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine and helping Republicans win the runoff Senate races in Georgia.
After meeting with officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Pence will rally Republicans to vote for Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the Jan. 5 election.
Pence has not, however, publicly acknowledged that he and President Donald Trump lost the Nov. 3 presidential election.
The vice president hasn’t repeated Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was stolen.
But he also hasn’t acknowledged that Trump’s efforts to challenge the results have failed, even as a Republican elections official in Georgia called on Trump Tuesday to “stop inspiring” recent threats of violence as the state finishes a second recount of the presidential results.
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Also on Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department has not found evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the vote.
On Wednesday, Trump put out a 46-minute video falsely claiming that he had won re-election.
Pence’s position has been largely a silent one.
When Pence campaigned for Perdue and Loeffler two weeks ago – the day the state’s presidential results were certified – he did not react when some Trump supporters chanted “Stop the steal!”
After swearing in Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Pence ignored a reporter asking whether he’s accepted Arizona’s election results.
Leaving Tennessee Thursday after a roundtable discussion on distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, Pence did not respond to a reporter asking if he’s spoken with the incoming administration.
California Sen. Kamala Harris, the vice president-elect, told reporters last week she has not spoken with Pence. Her comment still stands, according to the Biden-Harris campaign.
Pence’s spokesperson did not respond when asked Thursday if Pence or his staff will communicate with Harris before the Jan. 20 inauguration.
In 2016, Joe Biden invited Pence and his wife to the vice presidential residence for a nearly two-hour meeting about a week after the election.
Trump is not expected to attend the inauguration or talk to Biden during the transition, NBC news recently reported.
Trump’s “immature behavior” puts Pence in an impossible bind, according to David Greenberg, a history professor at Rutgers University and author of “Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency.”
Pence has to remain a loyal soldier while also preserving some dignity should he later seek the presidency or another role in public life, Greenberg said
“It doesn’t show great courage. It doesn’t show great statesmanship,” Greenberg said. “But it is what many politicians would do in such a bizarre circumstance.”