Vice President Mike Pence skirted a question during Wednesday’s debate about whether President Donald Trump would accept the results of the election if he loses.
“If we have a free and fair election, we know we’re going to have confidence in it, and I believe in my heart that President Trump will be reelected for four more years,” Pence said.
Trump has come under fire for not directly stating that he would step aside if he loses — a position that has caused considerable heartburn for the GOP. The president has implied that he would only lose if the deck is stacked unfairly against him, and he has accused Democrats of trying to steal the election from him.
The integrity of November’s election is under considerable scrutiny due to the expected crush of votes by mail and other changes as a result of holding an election in the middle of a public health pandemic.
Pence’s comments at the debate in Utah were not out of the ordinary for the vice president, who has worked diligently to ensure that he remains in lockstep with Trump and his erratic messaging.
Trump and his Republican allies have filed a host of legal challenges across the country seeking to block some of these changes, and Trump has repeatedly said that voting by mail is rife with the potential for fraud and abuse.
Pence defended those lawsuits, adding that they are designed to prevent Democrats from “changing the rules.”
He also accused Democrats of spending “the last three-and-a-half years trying to overturn the results of the last election.”
“We’ve all seen the avalanche — what you put the country through for the better part of three years, until it was found there was no obstruction, no collusion, case closed,” Pence said as he referenced Democrats’ impeachment effort.
Pence’s Democratic counterpart, Kamala Harris, also evaded a question of what the Biden campaign is prepared to do in the event that Trump does not carry out a peaceful transition of power. Instead she accused Trump of trying to “subvert our democracy” and encouraged people to vote.
“We believe in the American people. We believe in our democracy,” she said. “If we use our vote, and we use our voice, we will win.”