Former President Donald Trump had a chance to say his supporters were wrong for chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” after they breached the Capitol on January 6, forcing Pence’s evacuation from the chamber.
Instead, Trump rationalized the threats against the former Vice President’s life.
In an interview for a new book about the end of his presidency, Trump was asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl if he was worried about Pence’s safety during the riot. After storming the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory, supporters chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” Pence and his family were forced to evacuate the Capitol.
"No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape,” Trump told Karl, according to audio obtained by Axios.
Trump added: “Well, the people were very angry.”
“They were chanting, ‘Hang Mike Pence,’” Karl said.
“Because it’s common sense, Jon,” Trump shot back, before launching into a full-throated attack on Pence for not helping him overturn the election results and steal the election.
“How can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?” the former president said. “And I'm telling you: 50/50, it's right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them. Anybody I spoke to—almost all of them at least pretty much agree, and some very much agree with me—because he's passing on a vote that he knows is fraudulent.”
Dozens of lawsuits and several audits have confirmed that the 2020 election was not fraudulent and that Trump lost it fair and square. But Trump continues to baselessly insist that Biden and the Democrats stole the election and that Pence helped them do it by leading the Constitutional procedure for certifying the election results.
Trump’s comments are shocking but consistent with what he said about Pence both on January 6 and after. “Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a sad, sad day for our country,” Trump told supporters at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally prior to the riot.
As Pence and his family were being evacuated from the Capitol, Trump tweeted his anger at the vice president.
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify,” Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m. on January 6, “the very moment that Pence and his family were endangered by violent marauders calling him a traitor",” according to the Washington Post.
When Pence declined to help Trump, Trump told him, “If you do this I don’t want to be your friend anymore,” according to a prior report for another book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
Pence—who, like Trump, is rumored to be considering a run for president in 2024—has continued to defend his actions.
Asked who had told him to refuse Trump’s request to block the certification, Madison cited James Madison and the Bible, specifically a psalm that those “who may live on your holy mountain” include he “who keeps his oath even when it hurts.”
“The only role of the federal government is to open and count the electoral votes that were sent by the states,” Pence said. “You've got to be willing to do your duty.”
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