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Mike Pence says there was ‘no pressure’ in his calls to governors after the 2020 election

Amid his refusal to concede the 2020 election, Trump reportedly urged Pence to call the Arizona governor to find evidence to substantiate his baseless claims of election fraud.
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Washington on June 24, 2023.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, a Republican presidential candidate, in Washington on June 24.Anna Rose Layden / Getty Images file

Former Vice President Mike Pence said there was “no pressure involved” to overturn the results of the presidential election from Donald Trump when he called Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in 2020 at the urging of the then-president.

“I did check in with, not only Gov. Ducey, but other governors and states that were going through the legal process of reviewing their election results, but there was no pressure involved,” Pence, who is now running for president against Trump, said during an interview with “Face the Nation” on CBS that aired Sunday.

Pence’s remarks came in response to a report by The Washington Post on Saturday, which said Trump "tried to pressure" Ducey to overturn the state's presidential election results in a phone call in late 2020, according to the paper. Pence also repeatedly called Ducey on the president's behalf but "did not follow Trump’s directions to pressure the governor."

Ducey did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

On CBS Sunday, Pence said that at the time, he was just “calling to get an update” and passed along information to Trump that confirmed the election results.

“Look, these states were going through a process after so much uncertainty about the election outcome in places like Arizona, in places like Georgia. States around the country were going through the legal process of engaging in a review under state law,” he said. “I got updates on that, passed that along, and it was no more, no less than that.”

"I don't remember any pressure," he added.

Trump had soured on Ducey, a Republican who was a close ally of his throughout the 2020 election, when the Arizona governor signed off on the state’s election certification of Biden’s victory. Trump at the time tweeted that Ducey had “betrayed” the people of Arizona by not backing the president’s false assertion that he had actually won the state that, in reality, he lost by over 10,000 votes.

In video footage of Ducey certifying the state’s election results in November 2020, the governor mutes a phone call that rang to the tune of “Hail to the Chief” — a ringtone he said he used specifically for incoming calls from the White House.

In the days leading up to the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, to certify the election results, Trump pressured Pence to overturn Biden’s victory as he presided over the ceremonial certification of the results. Pence refused Trump’s demand, and became a target of some of the rioters who stormed the Capitol that day and chanted “Hang Mike Pence.”

Pence has increased his criticism of his former boss since he launched his presidential bid in early June, accusing Trump of abandoning conservatism and his constitutional duties.