President Donald Trump took over Twitter's "trending topics" section on Tuesday with the false claim: "The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors." Before long, the top trending phrase of the day was "NO HE DOES NOT." This simple retort consumed Americans for the morning.
Trump's tweet referred to the U.S. Congress' upcoming vote to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which the vice president has "a crucial but largely ceremonial role," according to a report by The New York Times. Despite what Trump said, the vice president — in this case, Mike Pence — does not have any explicit constitutional power to overturn an election when it reaches this phase. Instead, the VP is expected to act as "the master of ceremonies rather than arbiter of outcome," as journalist Michael S. Schmidt put it. Congress is merely tallying the votes from the Electoral College, none of which have been overturned in spite of dozens of recounts, audits, investigations and lawsuits from Trump.
The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2021
The vice president serves as the president of the United States Senate, giving him the job of overseeing that legislature's biggest tasks. Counting electoral votes is among them, although Trump was severely misconstruing the constitutional power of the office in his tweet on Tuesday.
It was not hard for Americans to fact check this claim, either. While die-hard supporters bought into Trump's false interpretation of the law, his critics began posting myriad resources for debunking this claim. Many also raged at him for discrediting the democratic process in this way, while others posted jokes and memes about the uncanny situation. Here is a look at how social media responded overall.
NO HE DOES NOT!— Bella (@northern_place) January 5, 2021
I can hear the Twitter chant
Reason number 537855 you should pay attention in class and read things before you agree to uphold the office those things are related to, like say, the constitution.
No he does not. https://t.co/fwhyTDA3h2— Michelle Morrison (@michellemo) January 5, 2021
Turning on Pence
No he does NOT.January 5, 2021
Other Vice Presidents
Having seen NO HE DOES NOT trending I kinda figured this was what it's about. So here's Al Gore as VP declaring his opponent W. the winner and therefore President Elect. This is how it works! https://t.co/vDQ2ofBVu4— Edward Kemper (@lorez99) January 5, 2021
This isn’t true in any sense but I welcome House and Senate Republicans to think about the fact that the imaginary powers you give to Pence are also going to be given to soon-to-be-sworn-in Vice President @KamalaHarris https://t.co/UfE7uOB0Ks— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 5, 2021
Twitter Safety Responseprevnext
First image that popped up in my head when I saw NO HE DOES NOT trending pic.twitter.com/WVuaTgTk3K— Aakeem The Great 👑 (@AakeemDuncan) January 5, 2021
"NO HE DOES NOT" Defending MY vote! It counts! pic.twitter.com/Cwjs3jBEx4— Bittersweet Be - and, climate justice for all (@loricushingbrad) January 5, 2021