Violent clashes broke out in Washington late on Wednesday as Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol and called for a rectification of Presidential poll results. At the time, the Congress had convened to count and certify the US Electoral College votes for President of the US - a process that is supervised by VP Mike Pence. It took over four hours to normalise the situation, and many including the VP had to be whisked away from the Capitol.
Interestingly, while Trump's calls for non-violence were largely sympathetic to the protesters, Pence lashed out in no uncertain terms. Even as Trump wrote about how he could understand the protesters' pain over the "rigged" elections, Pence condemned the violence "in the strongest possible terms".
"To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the People's House," he tweeted.
"Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he had warned earlier as the protests raged.
With less than two weeks to go before Joe Biden is sworn in, certification of the votes cast by the Electoral College is the final hurdle. Over the last few days President Trump has repeatedly insisted that Pence had the power to turn the situation around, repeatedly telling his followers that he was counting on his Deputy. And while Pence has not responded publicly to the entire debacle, many contend that this is not a power his office possesses.
"The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," Trump tweeted on Tuesday night, baffling many who pointed out that this is largely a ceremonial role. He followed that up with repeated claims about how Pence could make all the difference - including on Wednesday.
"If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!" he said on January 6.
"States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus corrupt process never received legislative approval. All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!" he tweeted hours before the protests.