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Rep. Mace Says She Did Her Job In Line With The Constitution

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Our next guest was sworn into Congress for the first time on Sunday. Her first week has included the assault on the U.S. Capitol. Republican Nancy Mace of South Carolina is on the line. Congresswoman, good morning.

NANCY MACE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: I'm glad you're safe. What was your experience like yesterday?

MACE: It was scary. At one point, the Cannon Office Building, where my office resides, was evacuated due to threats. We found out later there were - there was not one, but there were multiple pipe bombs planted or delivered to the Republican Party in different places in D.C. on the Capitol. It was un-American what happened yesterday. These were not protesters. These are rioters, violent rioters. This was anarchy. And...

INSKEEP: And I want to be clear about something. You supported the president...

MACE: I did.

INSKEEP: ...But also voted to approve the election results. You felt that was your duty under the Constitution...

MACE: Correct.

INSKEEP: ...Which means the people who were protesting, the rioters, the insurrection, they were targeting you.

MACE: Oh, yes. And, in fact, my life has been threatened in recent days. I was accosted Tuesday night on a street in D.C., had - was going to get something to eat and was accosted. This is not OK. Enough is enough. And when you read the Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 explicitly states, in black and white, that Congress' role here is merely to count the votes of the Electoral College. The states submit the electors. If we're only given one slate of electors, that's the one slate we count. If we're given two slates, which has not happened this election cycle, then Congress has a role to step in. But my problem here is that the lead up to the rally on Wednesday, I had my swearing in on Sunday. I'm a single mom. I brought my two children up to D.C. for this historic moment. I'm the first Republican woman elected to Congress from South Carolina.

But I put my kids on the first plane home on Monday because the rhetoric I was hearing gave me great concern. It made me pause and have concern about what the outcome of the rally might be on Wednesday, because it sounded like what I was hearing and inferring was the potential for violence. And I'm so grateful that my motherly instincts kicked in, that I got my children home and that they were not exposed to the violence that we all witnessed yesterday. I've condoned it. And enough is enough.

INSKEEP: I think you mean to say you condemned it, not condoned it.

MACE: Condemned it, not condoned it. I'm working on two hours of sleep.

INSKEEP: That's OK.

MACE: I've been in office for a hundred hours. So I have condemned it, correct.

INSKEEP: I'm grateful that you've joined us given the lack of sleep. I want to be - it's a time for ruthless clarity here. You supported the president. The president has lied for months about the election, lie after lie, after lie, after lie. The president incited this violence. The president stood before the crowd at the Ellipse yesterday and said, we're not going to take it anymore. That violence was then directed against you. Do you still support the president?

MACE: Well, the thing that I - one of the things that I've been talking about - and yesterday, I urged the president to get off Twitter and get on TV and urge peace to the folks who came to D.C., to ask them to peacefully return home yesterday. And I continue to urge that message. But you're right. These people, the American people, were lied to. His followers were lied to. Many - millions of people believed that Congress could usurp the role of the Electoral College and singularly overturn the results of the election in a largely ceremonial vote to certify the Electoral College and the outcome in 50 states that legally certified their elections this cycle.

The American people, millions of them, believed that the vice president could single-handedly overturn the results of the election yesterday. And thank God for Vice President Mike Pence, who didn't give into that rumor and told folks no simply yesterday morning, that that wasn't true. And the expectations were high. And what happened - it just didn't happen because it's not in the Constitution. We have no ability or power or authority to do that. And that also...

INSKEEP: Let's talk about, if I can...

MACE: ...Added to the violence yesterday.

INSKEEP: I'm so sorry to interrupt. Forgive me. I just have a few seconds left. And I want to ask about the bigger lie, the lie that the election was stolen at all, that there was any need for Congress to fix anything. Do you agree that Joe Biden clearly, obviously won as certified by all 50 states and dozens of courts?

MACE: Yes. And I've acknowledged Joe Biden's win for weeks now. And have come under fire for that acknowledgement. There's a role for the states. There's a role for Congress here. There are three branches of government. The executive branch is not Congress. The judiciary is not Congress. And Congress isn't the state legislatures. We don't have a role in affecting the outcomes of state elections. They're run by the states. That's federalism. That's the Constitution.

INSKEEP: Congresswoman Mace, thanks for your time. I really appreciate it.

MACE: Yes, sir. Thank you.

INSKEEP: No need to call me sir, ma'am.

MACE: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: Nancy Mace from South Carolina.

(SOUNDBITE OF DISTANT.LO'S "TOO OFTEN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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