Marc Short, who served as former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, on Sunday offered some insight into the ex-VP’s decision to counter former President Trump’s efforts to get him to overturn the 2020 election.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” Short said that Trump’s assertion “merited response” from Pence because it was false. During a Federalist Society conference on Friday, Pence said that Trump was “wrong” to insist that his former VP had the authority to overturn the results on the day he presided over the joint session of Congress last year certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
“Of course there’s nothing in the 12th Amendment or the Electoral Count Act that would afford a vice president that authority,” Short said. “It’s why no vice president in 200 years has ever used that authority, and it’s certainly not one that I think conservatives or Republicans would want Kamala Harris the ability to say she’s going to reject votes from Texas or Wyoming or any other state heading into 2024.”
Short went on to say that he believes President Biden was “duly elected” because in reality “there was not enough significant fraud” that would have justified overturning any state’s election results.
Asked whether Trump received any legal advice regarding his efforts to overturn the election results and whether Pence considered doing the former president’s bidding, Short likened many of Trump’s advisers to “snake oil salesmen.”
“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,” Short said. “But our office, you know, researched then recognized that was never an option.”
Short said he was unsure whether Trump’s ambitions to overturn the election results could be chalked up to bad advisers themselves or the former president going out of his way to seek bad advice.
Short then reiterated that Pence never believed that he had the authority to overturn the results during his term as president of the Senate.
“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 never thought he had that authority,” Short said.
Short added that Trump and Pence “did not have conversations” on Jan. 6 while the ex-VP was in the Capitol. The former VP’s chief of staff said that he had a conversation with then-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows during the breaching of the Capitol.
Pressed on whether he thinks the Jan. 6 Committee will subpoena Pence, Short said he believes that would be a “pretty unprecedented step” for the panel to take.
“It would be, I think, very difficult for me to see that scenario unfolding,” Short said.
Short’s interview comes on the heels of his reported testimony before the committee following a subpoena. According to CNN, Short testified before the committee in person during a lengthy session late last month. Short’s testimony came after he previously produced a limited number of documents that were subpoenaed by the panel. The documents reportedly included a memo from Trump aide Johnny Mentee likening former President Trump to Thomas Jefferson.
It is unclear whether Pence himself will testify before the committee, but committee Chair Bennie Thompson confirmed last month that the panel has asked to speak to the former VP directly.
The former VP’s legal team has reportedly had early, informal discussions with the committee, according to CNN. However, Pence is reportedly looking to aides such as Short to act as his “proxy” instead of having to appear before the committee himself.
Short, who is among the former VP’s closest advisers, accompanied Pence for most of Jan. 6. Short was with Pence after the then-VP as evacuated from the Senate chamber and moved to a safe location beneath the Capitol as Trump supporters breached the building.
Short’s cooperation could potentially offer insight into Pence’s whereabouts on the day of the deadly Capitol insurrection, including the then-VP’s interactions with Trump as the then-President publicly demanded that Pence not certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory on Jan. 6.
Additionally, Short was a firsthand witness to Trump and conservative attorney John Eastman’s pressure campaign to convince Pence to delay the count of the Electoral College votes during a meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 4.
Watch Short’s remarks below: