U.S. Vice President Mike Pence waves to supporters at the finish of a rally in Kinston, North Carolina, Oct 25, 2020.
Jonathan Drake | Reuters
Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to vacation abroad for the very first time for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic just several hours immediately after presiding in excess of the congressional session in which President-elect Joe Biden will be formally declared the winner of November’s contest versus President Donald Trump.
The Indiana Republican will depart the U.S. on Jan. 6 for a excursion that will involve stops in Bahrain, Israel and Poland, in accordance to a authorities document received by NBC News. Pence will continue to be overseas as a result of Jan. 11.
The travel schedule, which an administration formal mentioned is issue to modify, has twin rewards for Pence.
He is anticipated to use his very last excursion as vice president to tout the administration’s overseas coverage achievements, like the normalization of relations among Israel and a range of Gulf states such as Bahrain.
It will also allow for Pence, rumored to be harboring his own presidential ambitions, to get out of Washington just after performing the uncomfortable position of asserting his and Trump’s defeat to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The excursion kicks off on the exact same working day that Congress will fulfill for a joint session to formally depend the electoral votes for president and vice president. Under federal regulation, the president of the Senate — a role held by the vice president — is charged with presenting the electoral votes and saying the winner.
The job is a politically unpleasant 1 for Pence, supplied that Trump has bucked precedent by refusing to concede defeat. Biden received 306 electoral votes, 36 additional than the 270 required for victory. Trump won 232 electoral votes. The Electoral College formally voted on Monday.
Pence has been in lockstep with Trump for the four a long time of his administration, remaining a loyal ally in a White Dwelling that was plagued with unusually higher turnover and regular infighting. But the vice president has largely remained in the history as Trump has attempted to reverse the results of the Nov. 3 election. Even so, Pence has been supportive of the president’s baseless promises of election fraud and has not publicly acknowledged Biden’s victory or congratulated the previous vice president.
Other senior Republicans have gradually begun to accept the election benefits, which includes Senate Bulk Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. On Tuesday, McConnell urged his fellow Republicans not to try to block the declaration of Biden’s victory.
The vice president’s workplace declined to remark to NBC News. Politico, which before reported on the trip, cited Pence allies who stated that there was no recommendation that Pence would not do his statutorily mandated duties.
Pence’s position presiding around the Jan. 6 congressional session is a formality, and he does not have a say in deciding upon the election’s winner. On at minimum 1 prior event in which the vice president declined to preside, in 1969, the job has been accomplished by the Senate’s president pro tempore, according to the Congressional Investigate Provider. This calendar year, the president professional tempore is Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
In addition to political issues, the timing of Pence’s journey might also be connected to the modern acceptance of the very first vaccine intended to avert the coronavirus. The Foods and Drug Administration permitted a vaccine created by Pfizer for emergency use earlier this month.
Pence, the chief of the White House coronavirus task drive, has not traveled overseas considering that in advance of the Covid-19 pandemic spread through the United States. On Friday, he will publicly get one particular of the to start with doses of the vaccine, the White Residence reported.
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