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Reporters Are Asking Trump’s Possible VP Picks If Pence Did the Right Thing on Jan. 6. Can You Guess Their Answer?

Ben Carson, Elise Stefanik and Doug Burgum — who are all rumored to be on Trump's running mate shortlist — have each been asked what they would've done in Pence's shoes on the day of the Capitol riot

Evan Vucci/AP Donald Trump, Mike Pence
Evan Vucci/AP Donald Trump, Mike Pence

Donald Trump's potential 2024 running mates are being asked a question that many seem to have trouble answering: Did Mike Pence do the right thing by refusing to overturn the results of the 2020 election?

Despite Trump urging Pence to stop the certification of the election won by Joe Biden in 2020, the former vice president did not, explaining in a statement published the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, that he had no authority to do so. Pence's statement angered Trump, who took to Twitter to say his vice president "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution."

Related: Donald Trump Allegedly Expressed Approval of 'Hang Mike Pence' Chants on Jan. 6, Committee Told: Reports

The rest is history, with the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol taking place shortly after, just as Pence and congressional lawmakers began gathering to count Electoral College votes.

Though all evidence gathered since 2021 shows that Biden fairly won both the electoral and popular votes in the last presidential election, the Republicans being considered as Trump's next running mate are still slow to agree that Pence did the right thing on Jan. 6.

Related: Trump's 2024 Veepstakes Have Begun: A Look at His Top Choices for Running Mate

Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images Then-President Donald Trump with Ben Carson, his secretary of housing and urban development
Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images Then-President Donald Trump with Ben Carson, his secretary of housing and urban development

Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon who ran for president in 2016 and later worked with Trump as his secretary of housing and urban development, demurred when asked whether he would have done what Pence did in a recent Fox News interview.

"Well, first off, people should know that Mike Pence spent a lot of time laboring over that decision," Carson responded. "I talked to him the night before and he was really torn over what was the appropriate thing to do."

Carson continued: "I think it would have been appropriate, perhaps, to look at all of the alternative theories seriously because there was significant controversy about what had happened in the election."

Related: Donald Trump Hit with New Jan. 6 Indictment After the 'Most Wide-Ranging' Investigation in DOJ History

Asked again if he believed what Pence did was "right or not," Carson said, "I think the right thing would have been to try to focus on having a process that is legitimate."

Despite Trump's claims to the contrary, there has been no proof that the 2020 election was illegitimate — an assessment backed up by the courts and numerous elections officials, both Democrat and Republican.

Related: Historians Rank Donald Trump Worst U.S. President Again, with Biden in 14th Place

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a loyal Trump supporter who chairs the House Republican Conference
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a loyal Trump supporter who chairs the House Republican Conference

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who is also rumored as a top contender for the role of Trump's running mate, was asked a similar question by CNN last month.

Stefanik was more forceful than Carson, saying, “I would not have done what Mike Pence did. I don’t think that was the right approach."

She further claimed that there "was unconstitutional overreach in states like Pennsylvania," saying, "I think it’s very important that we continue to stand up for the Constitution and have legal and secure elections, which we did not have in 2020."

Related: Ron DeSantis Finally Calls Donald Trump’s 2020 Election Conspiracies ‘Unsubstantiated’: ‘Of Course He Lost’

Stephen Yang/Getty Images North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a 2024 presidential race dropout who is reportedly on Trump's VP shortlist
Stephen Yang/Getty Images North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a 2024 presidential race dropout who is reportedly on Trump's VP shortlist

Meanwhile, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — a wealthy software executive who mounted a challenge to Trump in the GOP primaries but fell out of the race in December — would not answer when asked the same question in a CNN interview.

Asked if he would have done what Mike Pence did if he were vice president on Jan. 6, 2021, Burgum said only, "this election ... is going to be about the things that matter to Americans," before speaking about the U.S. economy.

Related: Laura Ingraham Dismisses John Eastman’s 2020 Election Fraud Claims: ‘I Haven’t Seen That Evidence’

Pence ultimately did affirm the results for Biden on Jan. 6, 2021 — hours after lawmakers were able to reenter the building and the mob was cleared. He has since called Jan. 6 "a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol."

Pence launched a run for the presidency in 2024, but suspended his campaign last October. Trump previously ruled out the idea of choosing Pence as his running mate again after their fallout over the Capitol riot.

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