DES MOINES — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was referring to a potential debate in the U.S. Senate — not the joint session during which Congress will decide whether to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election — when he said Tuesday he does not expect Vice President Mike Pence to preside over the Senate, Grassley’s office said Tuesday.
Grassley’s comments caught the attention of national reporters Tuesday morning when, asked about Wednesday’s proceedings, he said, “First of all, I will be — if the Vice President isn’t there, and we don’t expect him to be there — I will be presiding over the Senate.”
Republican President Donald Trump has, without any evidence of voter fraud or any other electoral malfeasance, pressured Pence to reject the results of the election that Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden. That left some to wonder whether Pence would oversee the certification of the results in Congress, a procedure scheduled for Wednesday in a joint session, or if Pence might instead punt that responsibility to Grassley, who serves as President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
Grassley’s office, however, said Grassley was not saying he did not expect Pence to preside over the joint session. Rather, Grassley’s office said, the senator was referring to a potential debate over the election results in the U.S. Senate.
If the election results are challenged in the joint session, the House and Senate will convene in their respective chambers and debate the matter. That, Grassley’s office said, is what the senator was referring to when he said he did not expect Pence to be in the Senate.
Grassley fully expects Pence to preside over the joint session, his office said.
Grassley does not plan to join U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, in objecting to the election results, Grassley’s office said. However, Grassley’s office said he will listen to any debate that stems from any objections, and will “decide how to cast his vote after he considers all the information before him.”
No evidence of significant voter fraud or misconduct has been produced by anyone who has questioned the election results, including in federal courts, which have rejected or declined to hear dozens of lawsuits brought by Trump and his allies.