OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former Vice President Mike Pence made his first comments on Thursday after the late Monday indictment of former President Donald Trump by Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis.
Pence, speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Summit in Indianapolis, said the 2020 election “was not stolen” in Georgia.
“Despite what the former president and his allies have said for now more than two and a half years and continue to insist to this very hour, the Georgia election was not stolen, and I had no right to overturn the election on Jan. 6,” he told the gathering.
“It’s a hard truth,” he added.
The former vice president also said he had previously “hoped that judgment about those days would be left to the American people and to history” and noted, “such is not the case.”
Pence noted as well that while “all those implicated [in the indictment] are entitled to the presumption of innocence that every American enjoys, no one is above the law.”
The former VP also praised Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp, who also pushed back on Trump’s claims the state was stolen from him after the former president was indicted.
“The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen. For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward – under oath – and prove anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor. The future of our country is at stake in 2024 and that must be our focus,” said Kemp on X, formerly Twitter.
Kemp predicted in July that Trump would lose Georgia if he received the Republican presidential nomination and continued to emphasize his claims of a rigged election.
“Quit looking back at the 2020 election. I mean, for goodness sakes, that was two-and-a-half, three years ago now,” Kemp said. “The American people want to know what are you gonna do for me to help me offset the bad policies of Joe Biden.”
“I think if he continues to do that, he’s gonna lose Georgia in November,” Kemp said of Trump.
The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen.
For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward – under oath – and prove anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I… pic.twitter.com/jaru2iBDo7
— Brian Kemp (@BrianKempGA) August 15, 2023
Earlier this week, the Trump campaign criticized Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and other prosecutors over his indictment related to allegations that he attempted to invalidate the state’s 2020 election results.
The Trump campaign mocked Willis as a “rabid partisan who is campaigning and raising money on a platform of prosecuting President Trump through these bogus indictments” in a statement that was not attributed to a specific spokesperson.
“Ripping a page from Crooked Joe Biden’s playbook, Willis has strategically stalled her investigation to try and maximally interfere with the 2024 presidential race and damage the dominant Trump campaign. All of these corrupt Democrat attempts will fail,” the campaign said in a statement.
Trump and his allies have accused Willis and others of engaging in “election interference” aimed at hurting his 2024 presidential campaign.
“These activities by Democrat leaders constitute a grave threat to American democracy and are direct attempts to deprive the American people of their rightful choice to cast their vote for President,” the campaign statement said. “Call it election interference or election manipulation—it is a dangerous effort by the ruling class to suppress the choice of the people. It is un-American and wrong.”
Willis said on Monday she wanted to put Trump on trial within six months, but several legal analysts and former prosecutors said that date is overly ambitious.
“Back in 2022 just last year, she brought a case against a rapper and several others. What does that tell you about the timing of this case and how quickly or slowly it might be able to come to trial?” CNN anchor Sara Sidner said to federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers during a Tuesday show segment.
“Fani Willis has a lot of experience with RICO throughout her prosecutorial career, so she knows what she’s doing in this regard. But going back to the Young Thug case, it’s still in jury selection. I mean months and months just in jury selection,” she said.