National: After years of fealty, Pence prepares for a final performance likely to anger Trump | Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey/The Washington Post
Vice President Pence and his team have huddled for hours with the Senate parliamentarian. They have studied historical examples of other vice presidents who have presided over election results. And they have begun anticipating the ire of President Trump — likely to come in the form of angry tweets — in the aftermath of Wednesday’s certification of the electoral college vote count before a joint session of Congress. The role of Pence, who will preside over the certification, is largely ceremonial, one of the few official duties of the vice president in his capacity as president of the Senate. But Trump’s continued and baseless insistence that he won the 2020 presidential election has thrust Pence into a vise between the Constitution he swore to uphold and the president he has promised his fealty. Pence’s performance Wednesday in the Senate chamber will serve as a fitting coda for a vice president who — through a combination of deference, obsequiousness and studied self-effacement — has made navigating the whims and loyalty requirements of his mercurial boss a full-time pursuit. Pence’s team views the vice president’s role as procedural and limited, not unlike an umpire calling balls and strikes but ultimately hemmed in by the rules of the game. Trump, meanwhile, has expressed a desire for Pence to use Wednesday’s session to overturn the election results and snatch victory from President-elect Joe Biden — a stunning subversion of democracy that Pence has no authority to carry out, even if he so desired.