Pence steps up criticism of Trump's actions on Jan. 6, calling him 'reckless'

Pence steps up criticism of Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, calling him ‘reckless’

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Former Vice President Mike Pence said Donald Trump’s rhetoric during the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol was “reckless” and that the former president’s actions “endanger” members of the Pence family and those trapped inside the building that day.

“I mean, the president’s words were reckless,” Pence said in an excerpt from his interview with ABC’s “World News Tonight” published Sunday. “It was clear that he had decided to be part of the problem.”

Pence was referring to Trump’s tweet, posted as the insurgency unfolded, about Pence’s refusal to reject the 2020 election results. The tweet said Pence “didn’t have the guts to do what should have been do”. Days earlier, Trump and his allies had publicly urged Pence to nullify the election results for Trump, even though the vice president had no legal right to do so.

Pence told ABC anchor David Muir he was “angry” when Trump posted the tweet.

“I turned to my daughter, who was standing next to me, and said, ‘It doesn’t take courage to break the law. It takes courage to uphold the law,” he said.

The former vice president also said Trump and the White House made no effort to reach him as the attack unfolded.

“I never heard from the president or the White House that day,” Pence said.

Pence’s comments to ABC appear to be the strongest he has given on Trump and the Capitol riot since tensions between the two men escalated in the final days of the Trump administration. Pence has been mentioned as a potential 2024 presidential candidate.

Five people died in or following the Jan. 6 attack, and about 140 police officers were assaulted when a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol, breaking through security barriers and forcing lawmakers and their aides to barricade themselves inside their offices as they feared for their lives. Police rushed other members of Congress, including House and Senate leaders, to secure the scene.

In surreal scenes that shook the United States and stunned the world, crowds descended on the Capitol, many chanting “Stop the theft!” as they echoed Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of massive voter fraud in the 2020 election. Many also chanted “Hang Mike Pence!”

Desperate, angry, destructive: how Americans turned into a mob

A Washington Post investigation into the attack noted a series of failures that took place before, during and after Jan. 6 and how Trump’s statements on social media fueled anger and political unrest in the months that followed. preceded the uprising.

“Big protest in DC Jan 6th,” Trump tweeted in December 2021. “Be there, it’ll be wild!”

The investigation found that Trump received blunt warnings of the risks on January 6, but stayed 187 minutes before calling on his supporters to go home. Law enforcement officials have also failed to respond urgently to warnings of violence, and first responders are dealing with deep trauma following the attack, The Post research found.

How the January 6 hearing went on the pro-Trump web

As the riot unfolded, Twitter suspended Trump and deleted three of his tweets, saying they incited violence and amplified baseless conspiracy theories about the election. Facebook followed suit. Both companies later permanently barred Trump from their platforms.

More than 840 suspects were charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, The Post reported in July, citing court documents, case documents and other public information. The House impeached Trump for inciting insurgency, but the Senate voted to acquit the president after a days-long trial.

Last month, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack issued a subpoena and documents from Trump himself, requiring him to testify under oath — a decision Trump has attempted to block. Last week, the former president filed a lawsuit against the committee, arguing that the subpoena is invalid because it has “no valid legislative purpose.”

The Republican Party failed to take control of the Senate and made less than expected gains in last week’s midterm elections, prompting many Republicans to look past Trump as a candidate running for president in the 2024 elections. Control of the House of Representatives remains undecided.

Pence, meanwhile, has hinted that he could launch his own White House bid and take on Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination. Trump is expected to announce his third presidential bid on Tuesday.

“There may be someone else I would prefer more,” Pence told an audience at Georgetown University when asked last month if he would support Trump for president during the presidential elections. 2024 elections. “I’ll let you know.”

Pence’s ABC interview is set to air in full Monday night.

Jacqueline Alemany and Mariana Alfaro contributed to this report.

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