Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Here’s what top Trump VP picks say about the 2020 election results — and whether they’ll accept the 2024 outcome

By 37ci3 May22,2024


No matter how much closer the country gets to the 2024 election, Donald Trump can’t stop looking back to the one four years ago. 

On the campaign trail, the former president consistently brings up his unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him by Democrats. This past weekend in Minnesota, he falsely told his supporters that he won the state last time around. (Joe Biden won by 7 percentage points.) 

And Trump has even said he doesn’t really want to hire anyone on his campaign who accepted that Biden won in 2020: “I wouldn’t feel good about it.” 

Yet a number of politicians considered top contenders for becoming Trump’s running mate did just that, and now have to show their loyalty to the former president in other ways. Others, however, have long been vocal with their false claims of a rigged election. 

Three of those top contenders — Sens. JD Vance of Ohio, Marco Rubio of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina — could, if chosen to be on Trump’s ticket, find themselves in the position of certifying their own election outcome in the Senate in 2025, win or lose. 

And now, duking it out to show Trump that they stand by him, none of these potential vice presidential picks have committed to accepting the 2024 election results, whether Trump wins or loses. 

As the vice-presidential headhunt barrels along, here is what some of the pool’s leading choices have said not only about the 2020 election, but also about 2024. 

Elise Stefanik: Voted against certifying the results for Biden

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik voted against certifying the 2020 election for Biden.
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik voted against certifying the 2020 election for Biden.Caroline Brehman / CQ Roll Call via AP file

A fervent Trump supporter on Capitol Hill, Stefanik notably voted against certifying Pennsylvania’s election results even after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

“Tens of millions of Americans are rightly concerned that the 2020 election featured unprecedented voting irregularities, unconstitutional overreach by unelected state officials and judges ignoring state election laws, and a fundamental lack of ballot integrity and security,” Stefanik wrote in an op-ed on the morning of Jan. 6 explaining her intent to reject the electors. 

Despite the lack of evidence for irregularities or fraud — claims that have been litigated dozens of times without success in court — Stefanik has continued to sow doubts about the 2020 election results in public appearances and stood by her decision to reject Pennsylvania’s elector slate. 

“I would not have done what Mike Pence did. I don’t think that was the right approach,” Stefanik said in an interview on CNN in early 2024, referring to the then-vice president’s role in certifying the 2020 election results. 

In an appearance on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” in January, Stefanik declined to commit to accepting the 2024 election results. 

“We will see if this is a legal and valid election,” she told moderator Kristen Welker. 

JD Vance: Would not have certified the election for Biden

Sen.  J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, smiles as he walks out of the Senate Chamber
Ohio Sen. JD Vance said he would not have certified the 2020 election for Biden.Andrew Harnik / Getty Images

Ohio Sen. JD Vance has been a megaphone for Trump’s stolen election claims, doubling down in public comments on his view that there were major inconsistencies and illegal balloting changes in 2020. 

Vance, who was elected to the Senate in 2022 and was not at the Capitol on Jan. 6, has signaled that he would have declined to certify the election had he been in Pence’s position. 

“If I had been vice president, I would have told the states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and so many others that we needed to have multiple slates of electors, and I think the U.S. Congress should have fought over it from there,” Vance said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” in February. 

If he were chosen to join Trump’s ticket this fall, Vance, as a member of the Senate, may find himself in the position of choosing to certify — or not — his own win or loss on the presidential ticket. 

When asked by CNN this month about the vote in November, Vance said, “Sure, if it’s a free and fair election, I will accept the results standard, whoever wins.”

Doug Burgum: ‘Mike Pence did the right thing’

Image: Governor of North Dakota Doug Burgum.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has frequently been on the campaign trail with Trump.Charlie Neibergall / AP file

Relatively unknown on the national stage until he launched his own bid for president in 2023, Burgum has emerged in recent weeks as a top contender to serve in a future Trump administration — even garnering several mentions from Trump himself when addressing the future of his ticket. 

As the possibility of joining the ticket becomes a more serious reality for the Great Plains governor, Burgum has begun to indulge in Trump’s election denialism despite past comments to the contrary. 

“Mike Pence did the right thing on Jan. 6,” Burgum said at the first Republican presidential primary debate in Milwaukee, with Pence standing only a few yards away from him. 

Burgum acknowledged that Trump ultimately lost the 2020 election, but in a nod to Trump, pins Biden’s win on irregularities in the voting process. 

“I believe that Joe Biden won the 2020 election but I also, based on the number of votes that were in but I think that because of Covid, there was a huge number of irregularities because we changed a bunch of rules in certain places, in certain precincts, in certain states,” he said in an early May interview on CNN. 

Burgum, like other contenders, has declined to comment on whether he would accept the 2024 election results. Pressed by CNN’s Jake Tapper on the possibility of political violence if Trump were to lose, Burgum declined to address that hypothetical scenario and said he was “looking forward” to seeing Vice President Kamala Harris certifying a Trump win next year. 

A spokesperson for Burgum did not respond to a request for comment on whether the governor would commit to accepting the 2024 election results. 

Marco Rubio: Voted to certify the election for Biden

Like Scott, Rubio voted to certify the 2020 election results in the Senate when the body reconvened after protesters had stormed the Capitol. In a speech on the Senate floor that night, Rubio signaled to colleagues that a vote against certifying the results was a “terrible idea” at the time but that he respected his colleagues’ decision to contest certain slates of electors. 

“Democracy is held together by people’s confidence in the election and a willingness to abide by its results,” Rubio said, acknowledging that several of his colleagues were prepared to vote against certifying results from states like Pennsylvania and Arizona. 

“Now listen, it’s important to understand something: Even the people objecting in the Senate recognize that it’s not going to pass. It’s not going to change the outcome, but it’s going to send a message, and it’s going to make a point. The problem is, I think it’s a terrible idea at this moment,” he continued. 

As his Senate re-election campaign got underway the following year, Rubio was pressed more often on the attack on the Capitol and Trump and Pence’s actions. Though he didn’t go as far as to contradict Trump’s assertions that Pence could have chosen to block the certification of Biden’s win, Rubio agreed with the former vice president that he did not have the constitutional authority to overturn the election results. 

“If a vice president has that power, Donald Trump would defeat Joe Biden in four years or two years, and then Kamala Harris can decide not — to overturn the election. I don’t want to wind up there,” Rubio said in an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” in February 2022. 

But as the vice-presidential search has heated up, Rubio declined to commit to accepting the 2024 election results in an interview this month on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” and instead asked why Democrats are not being pressed to answer that particular line of questioning. 

Tim Scott: Voted to certify the election for Biden

As a member of the Senate in 2020, Scott voted to certify Biden’s election win. During his own run for president, Scott avoided the topic of the 2020 election unless asked. Unlike other colleagues on the Hill, Scott stopped short of fully supporting Trump’s stolen election claims but noted that he did see irregularities in the voting process. 

“The President’s legal team exercised its right to access the courts by initiating suits in state and federal courts in numerous states.  Some of these lawsuits have even been presided over and adjudicated by conservative judges nominated by President Trump. Thus far, no justice, judge or fact finder has found evidence indicating the election results in those states should be overturned,” Scott wrote in a statement the morning of the certification vote, explaining that he saw no “constitutionally viable means for the Congress to overturn an election wherein the states have certified and sent their Electors.” 

Onstage at the first Republican presidential primary debate in Milwaukee, Scott said Pence “absolutely” did the right thing by certifying the election results. 

However, with the 2024 election now looming, Scott recently declined to say whether he would accept the election results in November. 

“At the end of the day, the 47th president of the United States will be President Donald Trump,” he told Welker’s “Meet the Press” in May, dodging several follow-up questions on whether he would contest the election’s outcome. 

Kristi Noem: Election was ‘rigged’ but Biden won

politics political politician podium
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem echoed Trump’s unfounded belief that the 2020 election was “rigged.”Francis Chung / POLITICO via AP file

Longtime Trump surrogate Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota rarely deviates in her support of the former president, including on the topic of the 2020 election. Despite her steadfast support, Noem has recently offered vague answers on Pence’s actions on Jan. 6 and whether there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election, as Trump claims. 

“You know, I wasn’t in Mike Pence’s shoes. And the information that he had at that time, I don’t know how he based his decisions,” she said in an interview on CNN in April, adding that Pence is a “nice man” but has “failed Donald Trump since that day because he certainly does not recognize that we need someone in the White House who needs him out on the trail advocating for him instead of constantly criticizing and going back and ripping him apart.”

Just two days after the 2020 election, Noem wrote in a post on X that the election system was “rigged” against the former president.

But in the days after the vote to certify the election, Noem began to strike a similar chord to many of her Republican colleagues: Though there may have been inconsistencies in the vote from her perspective, she recognized Biden as the winner of the election. 

“I said that President Trump after the election deserved his day in court. He went to court, did not get a different result. Therefore, we now have President Biden,” she said at a news conference in South Dakota in early 2021. 

A spokesperson for the governor did not respond to a request for comment on whether Noem would commit to accepting the 2024 election results. 

Ben Carson: Unclear

Former U.S. Secretary Of Housing And Urban Development Ben Carson Speaks At CPAC politics political politician
Ben Carson served as Housing and Urban Development secretary under Trump.Zach D Roberts / NurPhoto via AP file

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has largely been out of the public eye since the end of the Trump administration, but he has remained a loyal Trump supporter in the interim. Though he largely avoided the spotlight in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection at the Capitol, Carson told Fox News in March that he had spoken with Pence in the days leading up to the riot on Capitol Hill about his obligation to oversee the certification of the election. 

“I believe he tried to do what was right,” Carson said of Pence’s actions on Jan. 6 without signaling how he would have acted in the same position, adding that “the right thing would have been to try to focus us on having a process that is legitimate.” 

Carson, however, did not make his opinion clear on how Pence should have proceeded on Jan. 6. 

“Based on recent polling numbers and Democrat’s past precedent of denying election results, you would be better served sending this question to the White House,” his chief of staff, Andrew Hughes, said in a statement to NBC News when asked if Carson would commit to accepting the 2024 election results. 

Carson has not said publicly if he would accept this election’s outcome, regardless of who wins. 



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