On Saturday, former Vice President Mike Pence issued scathing criticism of former President Donald Trump for his role in the riot that took place on January 6 at the United States Capitol. Pence’s comments deepened the rift between the two men as they prepare to compete for the nomination of the Republican party in the election that will take place in 2020.
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said during remarks at the annual white-tie Gridiron Dinner attended by politicians and journalists. “I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
Pence’s comments were the strongest rebuke yet from the once-loyal lieutenant, who has long avoided confronting his former boss. Pence’s statements were the sharpest condemnation yet. Trump has already announced his intention to run for president. Pence has not yet announced his candidacy for president, but he has been making preparations to do so.
In the days preceding up to the ceremonial certification of the results on January 6, 2021, President Trump exerted pressure on Vice President Pence to reverse President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Pence was in charge of the event. Pence declined, and as protesters broke into the Capitol building, some of them began chanting that they wanted to “hang Mike Pence.”
In its final report, the investigative committee appointed by the House of Representatives to look into the attack stated that “the President of the United States had riled up a mob that hunted his own Vice President.” Pence’s statements firmly established him as a participant in the larger discussion taking place inside the Republican Party about the appropriate response to the assault.
Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, for example, was recently given access to an archive of security camera footage from January 6 by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Carlson has utilized the evidence to minimize the significance of the events that occurred on that day and to further various conspiracy theories.
“Make no mistake about it, what happened that day was a disgrace,” Pence said in his Gridiron Dinner remarks. “And it mocks decency to portray it any other way.”
Trump, in the meantime, has persisted in spreading misinformation about his defeat in the election. He has even made statements in favour of the rioters and stated that if reelected, he would consider pardoning them for their actions.
The speeches given at the Gridiron Dinner are typically hilarious affairs, during which politicians take the opportunity to poke fun at one another; Pence’s speech was no exception in this regard.
He made a joke about how Trump’s ego was so fragile that he wanted his vice president to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings” at their weekly lunches. One of the lines in the song is “did you ever realize that you’re my hero?” He wanted his vice president to sing the song because Trump wanted to hear it.
In regard to the confidential information, he fired out another blow at Trump.
“I read that some of those classified documents they found at Mar-a-Lago were actually stuck in the president’s Bible”
“Which proves he had absolutely no idea they were there.”
Even before the meal was done, Vice President Pence came under fire for making jokes about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who made history as the first out gay member of the Cabinet in the history of the United States. Pence noted the fact that Buttigieg took “maternity leave” after he and his husband adopted newborn twins, despite the fact that Americans were experiencing difficulties with flying at the time.
“Pete is the only person in human history to have a child and everyone else gets post-partum depression”
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