President Trump branded his vice president a coward in a furious tweet after Mike Pence defied his commander in chief and announced that he lacked the authority to discard electoral votes that will make Democrat Joe Biden the next president on Jan. 20.

Their fall-out came amid a day of high drama, as Trump supporters tried to force access to the U.S. Capitol as members met to certify the Electoral College votes.

Pence has been under intense pressure to heed the president’s wishes in overturning election results. However, he issued a letter defying Trump just as the joint session began.

The president’s response came in trademark fashion, delivered on Twitter and accusing one of his most loyal allies of lacking “courage.”

Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021

His tweet came as his supporters forced the lockdown of the U.S. Capitol. The Senate and House have adjourned, presumably for safety reasons, as protesters pass through the Capitol doors.

House and Democratic leaders were rushed off the floor to their respective chambers by their security details.

Appearing before supporters at a lunchtime rally, Trump had called on his supporters to march on the Capitol.

“We will not let them silence your voices,” Mr Trump told the protesters.

But as violence escalated around the congressional complex, Trump appealed for calm.

Wednesday represented the final opportunity for his long-shot effort to overturn November’s election. He had repeatedly called on Pence to reject certification of Electoral College votes that would formally hand victory to Biden. Thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington throughout the morning, putting the city on edge amid fears of a violent confrontation.

For days, legal experts and constitutional scholars said that Pence had no authority to act unilaterally. And minutes after Trump finished addressing the rally, Pence issued a three-page letter saying that he had reached the same conclusion.

“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” he wrote.

Author: Rob Crilly

Source: Washington Examiner: Trump says Pence lacks ‘courage’ for defying his orders to reject election result