The fracture in Donald Trump's relationship with Mike Pence has culminated in the president blocking the vice president's chief of staff, Marc Short, from having access to the White House altogether. After losing the November presidential election to Joe Biden, Trump has publicly pushed on Pence to overturn the election results following dozens of losses in court.
Wednesday, in a rally held near the White House that would eventually lead to an angry mob that stormed the Capitol building in an attempted insurrection, Trump demanded of his VP, "Mike Pence, I hope you get to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country, and if you're not, I'm going to be very disappointed in you."
In response, Pence released a lengthy letter in which he defied the president just before Congress' joint session to certify the electoral vote. "It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not," the statement read.
In the midst of that vote, the pro-Trump rioters broke into the Capitol, causing lawmakers to be evacuated and Pence to be whisked off to an undisclosed location as the mob overtook the government building. As people called for the president to call off his supporters, he took to Twitter to single out Pence once more. "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify," Trump wrote in a tweet that would be deleted from Twitter for violating its standards. "USA demands the truth!"
Pence's chief of staff would later tell RealClearPolitics reporter Phillip Wegmann he had banned from the White House property due to Pence's refusal to follow his orders. "[Trump's] blaming me for advice to VP," Short told Wegmann.
CONFIRMED: Short tells me he is not allowed back on White House grounds: "He's blaming me for advice to VP." https://t.co/EnfYIidVMF— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) January 7, 2021
After the mob was pushed back by police and National Guardsman, Pence called the day "unprecedented," but did not directly call out Trump's role in the events. "To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins," he said in a public address.
Pence is now the linchpin in lawmakers' call for the 25th Amendment to be invoked as they demand Trump to be removed from office immediately. Democrats have threatened to impeach Trump for a second time if Pence will not buy-in.