Donald Trump Reportedly Defended Mob Chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’ During 6 Jan. Capitol Riot
08:59 GMT 26.05.2022 (Updated: 13:58 GMT 26.05.2022)
© AP Photo / Erin SchaffVice President Mike Pence officiates as a joint session of the House and Senate convenes to confirm the Electoral College votes cast in November's election, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
© AP Photo / Erin Schaff
The ex-POTUS and his then-Vice President Mike Pence fell out after the latter refused to give in to Donald Trump’s demands not to certify the “rigged” results of the 2020 presidential election, won by Democrat Joe Biden.
Donald Trump reacted to his supporters’ chants about “hanging” his then-vice-president, Mike Pence, during the US Capitol riot by saying maybe the mob was right, The New York Times reported.
Two witnesses cited by the outlet confirmed to the House select committee investigating the events of 6 January 2021 that Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff at the time, had described the ex-president as “saying something to the effect of, maybe Mr Pence should be hung”.
According to the report, there was no way of clarifying whether Donald Trump made the alleged remark in jest or was serious.
A member of Meadows’ legal team was cited as telling Politico that the account was “totally incorrect regarding Meadows”.
Mark Meadows has refused to testify to the select committee investigating the US Capitol riot since he was subpoenaed in September. In December 2021, the House held him in contempt of Congress and referred him to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. The DOJ has not charged him with any crime.
A Trump spokesman, Taylor Budowich, was cited as saying:
“This partisan committee’s vague ‘leaks’, anonymous testimony and willingness to alter evidence proves it’s just an extension of the Democrat smear campaign that has been exposed time and time again for being fabricated and dishonest”.
‘People Were Angry’
Mike Pence was at the US Capitol to preside over certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November 2020 presidential election against Republican Donald Trump.
Back in January 2021, Pence was blasted by many infuriated Trump supporters as a "traitor" for still proceeding to certify the results, despite Trump's demanding not to do so and fuming over the “rigged” voting process.
Despite Trump advisers’ attempts to persuade him otherwise, Pence concluded he did not have the authority to reject Electoral College results.
The rioters who stormed the Capitol building on 6 January, protesting against the certification of the election results, had set up a makeshift gallows outside. Protesters inside the building were heard chanting “Hang Mike Pence”. Multiple accounts since then have claimed that aides “pleaded” with Trump to call off the mob, but he purportedly delayed for hours.
ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl, interviewing Trump for his book, "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show", asked Trump about the "terrible" chants at the time of the Capitol events.
The ex-president defended the protesters, saying that "people were angry" because Pence was not attempting to block Electoral College results stemming from a “fraudulent” election.
"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?” Trump was heard saying, according to an audio outtake released by ABC News in November 2021.
Trump also argued that his ex-VP Mike Pence was "well-protected" at the time and was "in good shape", so he did not worry about his safety.
Mike Pence has since signalled that he may be planning to go up against Donald Trump in the GOP’s 2024 presidential primary.
“We’ll go where we’re called” the former vice president was cited as telling The New York Times.
Pence’s flurry of speeches in battleground states has also been seen as another signal that he may be considering a presidential run.
23 May 2022, 18:24 GMT
The Democratic-led House select committee investigating the 6 January riot at the US Capitol was established on 30 June 2021 and has been issuing subpoenas to ex-Trump administration officials, allies, and re-election campaign aides. It has been charged by Republicans as an instrument used to attack the 45th POTUS.
12 May 2022, 22:45 GMT
The committee, comprising seven Democrats and two Republicans, believes that Donald Trump's campaign aides and advisers set up a “war room” that acted, in effect, as a command centre to coordinate efforts to overturn the certification of the results of the November 2020 presidential elections in the country.
The Democrats have accused Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud of inciting the so-called insurrection, which temporarily interrupted the electoral count certifying Joe Biden's victory in the November 2020 presidential election. As a result of the events at the Capitol, five people, including a police officer, died.
Trump has denied any culpability, underscoring that he was among the first to condemn the actions of the rioters, who were dissatisfied with the election results.
Donald Trump was accused of “inciting an insurrection” and impeached by the US House of Representatives, only to later be acquitted by the US Senate in a trial weeks after he left office.