After months of lying about the validity of the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump publicly pressured his Vice President, Mike Pence, to overturn then-President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
Ahead of a President's inauguration, the Vice President oversees a joint session of Congress where the body acknowledges the validity of each state's certified electoral votes. While lawmakers can object to a state's electoral votes—sending each of the two chambers to separately vote on whether to count them—Trump falsely insisted that Pence could unilaterally throw out electoral votes of swing states Trump lost.
In reality, the Vice President's powers during this joint session are purely administrative.
Pence reached this same conclusion, writing in a letter to Congress on January 6, the day of the joint session:
"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."
The letter was released as Trump appeared at a nearby rally outside the White House, where he told his supporters he hoped Pence would do "the right thing" before instructing them to walk to the Capitol and make their opposition known. Of course, the mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol, upending the joint session and calling to "Hang Mike Pence!"
Now a new book from journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Peril, shed further light on Trump's pressure campaign against his own Vice President to seize power despite losing the election.
Urging Pence to throw out certified electoral votes, Trump said:
"I don't want to be your friend anymore if you don't do this."
The sophomoric ultimatum caught the mockery of Twitter.
Others found the plea downright sad.
Peril was written after hundreds of interviews with Trump administration officials regarding the former President's last weeks in office.