Former Vice President Mike Pence said former President Donald Trump’s words on social media during the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol were “reckless” and criticized Trump for “being part of of the problem” that day.
Pence was asked on ABC News about Trump’s tweet during the attack which said Pence lacked the “courage” to unilaterally overturn the results.
“It pissed me off,” Pence told ABC’s David Muir after a long break. “But I turned to my daughter, who was standing nearby. And I said, ‘It doesn’t take courage to break the law, it takes courage to uphold the law.’ The president’s words were reckless. It was clear he had decided to be part of the problem,” the former vice president continued in one of his strongest rebukes to his former boss to date.
In the Trump White House, Pence was fiercely loyal in public through the constant controversies that have defined the administration, but following the Jan. 6 riot — in which Trump supporters chanted to hang the then-vice president – he has occasionally criticized his former boss, including in February when he publicly denounced Trump’s campaign lies.
“President Trump is wrong,” Pence said at the time, referring to the false claim that Pence, as vice president, had the power to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes. “I had no right to cancel the election.”
Trump, for his part, said Pence “disappointed me very badly” the day the electoral votes were certified.
The former vice president has been coy about his plans for 2024. He has long been considered a potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination, but has not officially declared a candidacy and would almost certainly face strong opposition of Trump, which he would need supporters. in primary combat. Trump is set to announce his 2024 campaign on Tuesday, former adviser Jason Miller said during a podcast appearance.
Throughout the midterm season, Trump and Pence have occasionally found themselves in a proxy battle, backing opposing candidates in Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin. Trump campaigned with a slate of candidates who repeated his lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election as Pence tried to shift the GOP’s attention away from the 2020 stimulus and toward traditional conservative policies.
Still, Pence was careful not to completely tear himself away from Trump.
“You know, what I can tell you is that I’m confident the Republican Party is going to fix the leadership problem,” Pence said last month, adding that he was focused on the midterm elections. mandate.
“But after that, we will think about the future, ours and the nation’s.”
Pence is scheduled to participate in a CNN town hall on Wednesday, the day after the release of his upcoming autobiography “So Help Me God.” The town hall, hosted by CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper, will take place in New York City and is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.
This story was updated with additional information on Sunday.
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