Pence says history will hold Trump ‘accountable’ for Jan. 6, chides him for putting his family at risk
WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Mike Pence delivered his sharpest criticism yet of Donald Trump on Saturday, saying the former president put Pence’s family at risk and that history will hold him “accountable” for the uprising on January 6, 2021.
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said in a speech at the annual Gridiron Dinner, a gathering of senior Washington journalists and dignitaries. “I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words threatened my family and everyone at the Capitol that day. And I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
Pence’s words came as Trump faces surveys in Atlanta and Washington over 6 January.
ONE The Ministry of Justice’s special advocate has subpoenaed Pence to speak about Trump’s actions on Jan. 6. The former vice president’s lawyers are seeking to quash the subpoena, saying prosecutors lack the legal authority to question him about private conversations with a sitting president.
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Pence is considering running against Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and has said he will make his decision this summer.
Pence excoriated the former president while serving as the Republican speaker at the gridan organization of journalists that sponsors an annual white-tie dinner featuring jokes, skits and parodies about members of both parties.
The first half of Pence’s speech was lighthearted, as he told jokes about himself, President Joe Biden, the Democrats — and Trump, referring to the time he invited him to a Bible study.
“He really liked the passages about smiting and perishing your enemies,” Pence said. “As he put it, ‘yeah know, Mike, there’s some really good stuff in here’.”
Pence turned serious when he began talking about the attack on the US Capitol on the day of a special session of Congress to formally count electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election. As vice president, Pence had a ceremonial role of presiding over the session, and his family members had joined him at the Capitol that day.
Trump tried to pressure Pence to help him overturn the election, asking the then-vice president to throw out electoral votes from states that Biden won. Pence refused, infuriating Trump, who criticized Pence at a meeting at the Ellipse. Angry Trump supporters then stormed the Capitol, smashing into the building with flagpoles and other weapons while chanting ‘hang Mike Pence’.
Pence said then and now that he had no authority to interfere in the outcome of the election.
All these studies: January 6 Capitol attack 2 years later: Trump still plagued by multiple investigations
Downplaying the uprising: President Biden blasts Tucker Carlson, GOP over coverage Jan. 6
Trump and many of his supporters have downplayed the uprising. Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson sparked outrage last week by inaccurately portraying the riot as a peaceful assembly.
Pence did not mention Carlson by name, but countered that portrayal, saying Jan. 6, 2021, was a “tragic day.”
“It was not, as some would have us believe, a matter of tourists peacefully enjoying our Capitol,” he said.
“Make no mistake, what happened that day was a disgrace. And it defies decency to portray it any other way,” Pence said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mike Pence: History will hold Donald Trump ‘accountable’ on January 6