Sen. Jim Inhofe says Mike Pence told him he was hurt that Trump turned on him
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe said Wednesday that Vice President Mike Pence expressed his frustration to him that President Donald Trump had turned on him for not trying to overturn Electoral College Votes.
In an interview, Inhofe said Pence told him, “‘You know, for four years, I’ve done everything the president wanted. I’ve been his closest ally, never disagreed with him.’”
Inhofe said Pence talked about “how unfair” Trump’s reaction had been when the vice president told Congress he didn’t have the authority to overturn a state’s Electoral College votes. Pence presided over the Senate during the count of the votes, and Trump had urged him to take action.
Trump tweeted later, “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.”
Inhofe said Pence told him “how much that hurt him. And it did. I could tell, the way he was talking.”
The conversation occurred before pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to evacuate during the certification of the Electoral College votes, Inhofe said.
Inhofe said Trump’s criticism of Pence “bothered me more than anything else. I’ve always been real close to the Vice President … He and I are good, close and personal friends. Well the president came out in a statement, in a speech I guess it was … and that was very disrespectful to Pence.”
Inhofe has been among Trump’s most loyal supporters for the past four years, touting him at public appearances, and the two have spoken often by phone.
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However, that relationship was damaged last month when Trump vetoed the annual defense bill, which Inhofe had co-authored as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Trump called out Inhofe in a tweet for not including repeal of a law’s provision giving social media companies legal immunity over content posted on their websites.
Congress overrode the president’s veto.
Inhofe on Tuesday broke with Trump and came out against efforts to overturn Electoral College votes, saying the Constitution gave Congress the authority only to count those votes. Inhofe was the only member of the seven-person, all-Republican Oklahoma delegation to come out against challenges to the Electoral College votes.