Former President Donald Trump defended his supporters who threatened to “hang” former Vice President Mike Pence during the failed Jan. 6 coup d’etat, when a mob breached the Capitol as Congress was certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory in the 2020 election.
In an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl at Mar-a-Lago on March 18, Trump was asked whether he was worried about Pence’s safety during the Jan. 6 siege at the Capitol.
Though Trump had tried pressuring Pence to block the certification of the election, Pence informed him that he had no such authority to do so.
The former President, whose campaign to pressure Pence into halting Congress’ certification of the 2020 Electoral College votes ultimately failed, said he thought his vice president was “well-protected” as hundreds of Trump-inspired rioters stormed the halls of Congress.
At the time, some rioters could be heard shouting, “hang Mike Pence,” who was at the Capitol that day presiding over the Senate’s counting of the votes.
The vice president, who was presiding over the certification of the 2020 election results, had to be whisked away by the Secret Service when an angry mob stormed the Capitol building.
“No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape,” said Trump in the course of the 90-minute interview, which was published by Axios on Friday.
“Because it’s common sense, Jon. It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that? And I’m telling you: 50/50, it’s right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them,” said Trump, who is the subject of Karl’s book, “Betrayal,” out on Tuesday.
As the reporter who has known Donald Trump longer than any other White House correspondent, Karl told the story of Trump’s rise in the New York Times bestseller Front Row at the Trump Show.
Now he tells the story of Trump’s downfall, complete with riveting behind-the-scenes accounts of some of the darkest days in the history of the American presidency and packed with original reporting and on-the-record interviews with central figures in this drama who are telling their stories for the first time.
“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,” said Trump. “How can you pass a vote that you know is fraudulent? Now, when I spoke to him, I really talked about all of the fraudulent things that happened during the election.”
“I didn’t talk about the main point, which is the legislatures did not approve — five states,” said Trump. “The legislatures did not approve all of those changes that made the difference between a very easy win for me in the states, or a loss that was very close, because the losses were all very close.”