Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during a Republican presidential primary...

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate, Nov. 8, 2023, in Miami. Scott, a 2024 vice presidential contender for GOP frontrunner former President Donald Trump's ticket, is treading carefully on questions about whether he would have certified the 2020 election if he had been vice president at the time. Scott in a pair of Sunday, Feb. 18, television interviews, would not say if he would have acted differently than Vice President Mike Pence. Credit: AP/Rebecca Blackwell

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. — Sen. Tim Scott, a potential running mate if Donald Trump becomes the Republican presidential nominee, is treading carefully on questions about whether he would have certified the 2020 election had he been vice president at that time.

On Jan. 6, 2021, about two months after Trump lost the White House, then-Vice President Mike Pence defied his boss and refused to use his largely ceremonial role in overseeing the election certification process to block Democrat Joe Biden's victory. Pence went forward with ratification of the Electoral College even after a violent mob of Trump supporters, some of whom chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” swarmed the U.S. Capitol, interrupting the congressional proceedings and forcing Pence, his family and staff into hiding in the complex.

Scott, a Trump rival in the 2024 race who dropped out and later endorsed the former president, declined to say in two Sunday news show interviews whether he would have acted differently as vice president.

“I’m not going to answer hypothetical questions, No. 1,” said Scott, R-S.C. He added: "You’re asking a hypothetical question that you know can never happen again.”

Scott voted in favor of certifying the 2020 results when the Senate got back to work after the siege. He also said during a presidential debate last year that Pence did the right thing when he certified the election.

The issue of certification is beginning to emerge again among Republicans. Two other potential Trump vice president contenders, Sen. JD Vance of Ohio and Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, said this month they would not have allowed 2020 election results to be certified on Jan. 6 had they been in Pence's position.

Scott sidestepped questions Sunday about how he saw the vice president's role in the certification process.

“The one thing we know about the future is that the former president, fortunately, he’ll be successful in 2024, he won’t be facing that situation again,” Scott said. “So what we should focus on is what will cause the former president, President Trump, to be the next president of the United States.”

Congress passed legislation in 2022 changing the law that governs the certification of a presidential contest, with the aim of avoiding a repeat of Trump’s effort to reverse his 2020 loss. The legislation, in part, makes clear that the vice president’s responsibilities in the certification process are merely ceremonial and that the vice president has no say in determining who actually won the election.

Trump is facing felony charges for working to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the Capitol riot. He was impeached after Jan. 6 on a charge of inciting an insurrection, but was acquitted by the Senate the next month, after leaving office.

Scott appeared on CNN's “State of the Union” and CBS' “Face the Nation.”

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