Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, has alleged that Donald Trump has banned him from the White House’s West Wing following the vice president’s refusal to overturn the election results in the joint session of the US Congress on Wednesday.
Mr Short said he is not allowed back inside the White House as Mr Trump is “blaming me for advice to VP,” reported Philip Melanchthon Wegmann, the White House reporter for Real Clear News.
The West Wing is the real power centre in the White House where the US President’s Oval Office, the situation room, and offices of his chief of staff and national security adviser are located.
According to CNN, the vice president’s chief of staff was seen entering the Eisenhower executive office, which is a separate building in the White House campus.
The Eisenhower building has housed the office of the vice president since 1961 when Lyndon B Johnson occupied that office.
Over the past few weeks, Mr Trump had publicly pressurised the vice president to not confirm Joe Biden during the joint session of the US Congress. During a rally in Georgia on 4 January, he said that he hopes Mr Pence comes through but if “he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him very much.”
The US president had made a similar appeal to Mr Pence on Wednesday in the rally outside the White House. He had urged the vice president to stand up for the good of the country and said: “if you’re not I’m gonna be very disappointed in you.”
The vice present, however, told lawmakers that he lacks the legal powers to reject electoral college votes.
Following Mr Pence’s defiance of his wishes, Mr Trump had tweeted that the vice president “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution.”
After the violence on the Capitol, lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, business leaders and media establishments urged Mr Pence to invoke 25th amendment of the US Constitution to remove the president from office.
Mr Pence called the riots a “dark day” while condemning the violence as Congress returned to work on confirming the election results certified by the electoral college.