WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday strongly criticized former President Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 riots at the US Capitol, widening a rift between the two men as they battle for the Republican nomination in next year’s election. were preparing for.
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said during remarks at the annual white-tie Gridiron dinner hosted by politicians and journalists. “I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words put my family and everyone at the Capitol in danger that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.
Pence’s remarks were the sharpest condemnation yet from the once-loyal lieutenant, who has often shied away from confronting his former boss. Trump has already announced his candidacy. Pence hasn’t, but he’s laying the groundwork to run.
In the days leading up to January 6, 2021, Trump pressed Pence to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory as he presided over a formal certification of the results. Pence refused, and when rioters stormed the Capitol, some said they wanted to “hang Mike Pence.”
The House committee that investigated the attack stated in its final report that “the President of the United States had incited a mob that hunted down his own Vice President.”
With his remarks, Pence cemented his place in a broader debate within the Republican Party over how to view the attack. For example, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy recently provided Tucker Carlson with an archive of security camera footage from January 6, which the Fox News host used to downplay the day’s events and promote conspiracy theories. Is.
“Make no mistake about it, what happened that day was disgraceful,” Pence said in his gridiron dinner remarks. “And it makes a mockery of decency to portray it any other way.”
Meanwhile, Trump continues to spread lies about his election loss. He has also spoken out in support of the rioters and said he would consider pardoning them if re-elected.
Speeches at the Gridiron Dinner are usually humorous affairs, where politicians poke fun at each other, and Pence did a lot of that too.
He joked that Trump’s ego was so fragile, he wanted his vice president to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings” – a line containing “Did you ever know you’re my hero?” — during their weekly luncheon.
He targeted Trump over confidential documents.
Pence said, “I read that some of the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago were actually tucked away in the President’s Bible.” “Which proves they had absolutely no idea they were there.”
Even before the dinner was over, Pence was facing criticism for his jokes about Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, the first openly gay cabinet member in US history.
Pence noted that, despite the travel problems plaguing Americans, Buttigieg took “maternity leave” while she and her husband adopted the newborn twins.
“Pete is the only person in the history of mankind who has kids and everyone else gets postpartum depression,” Pence said.