The Slatest

Pence Aide: Trump Had “Snake Oil Salesmen” Giving Him “Bad Advice” on 2020 Election

Then-Vice President Mike Pence and his chief of staff Marc Short confer during a meeting at the White House on March 2, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Then-Vice President Mike Pence and his chief of staff Marc Short confer during a meeting at the White House on March 2, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, who was Mike Pence’s chief of staff, came to the defense of the former vice president amid continuing attacks from former President Donald Trump. As far as Short is concerned, Trump received lots of bad advice on Pence’s authority to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. “Unfortunately, the president had many bad advisers who were basically snake oil salesman giving him really random and novel ideas as to what the vice president could do,” Short said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.

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Short spoke up mere days after Pence offered his strongest rebuke of Trump to date, rejecting the former president’s contention that he could have overturned the results of the election. “President Trump is wrong,” Pence said Friday. “I had no right to overturn the election.” Short said the vice president’s office studied the issue at the time and realized there was no way the results could somehow be changed. “Our office, you know, researched that and recognized that was never an option,” Short said.

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When host Chuck Todd asked whether Trump had the wrong information from bad advisers or whether the former president was actually “seeking the bad advice,” Short said he didn’t know. “I don’t know the answer to that question,” Short said. “I think that honestly he did get a lot of bad advice.”

Just like Pence on Friday though, Short seemed eager to walk a fine line and didn’t completely dismiss concerns about the election even as he affirmed that “Joe Biden is the duly elected president of the United States.” Short called the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot “partisan,” but said he was complying with a subpoena without going into details of his testimony. At the same time, he raised doubts about whether Pence would testify before the committee. “I think it’s very different to subpoena a former vice president to talk about private conversations he had with the president of the United States,” Short said. “It’s never happened before. And I think we have significant concerns about the committee.”

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