Donald Trump Defends Supporters Who Wanted To 'Hang' Mike Pence

US Politics
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Damir Mujezinovic

On January 6 this year, a large group of former President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the United States Capitol building in order to stop the certification of 2020 election results and block Democrat Joe Biden from assuming the presidency.

Incited by Trump's baseless claims that the election was rigged, the violent rioters clashed with security forces and threatened then-Vice President Mike Pence.

Some of them even chanted "hang Mike Pence!" as they stormed the Capitol. According to Trump, that wasn't such a big deal.

Pence's Role

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Trump has long claimed that Pence had the authority to overturn election results by sending votes back to states, despite constructional scholars and the former vice president himself saying he had no such powers.

But rioters believed the former president, and were apparently so furious at Pence for certifying Biden's win that they wanted to hang him.

ABC News anchor Jonathan Karl spoke with Trump about these threats against Pence's life. A key part of the conversation was shared this week with the press.

Read more below.


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The Interview

As reported by Axios, Karl asked Trump whether he was worried about Pence's safety during the chaotic riots.

"No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape" the former president replied.

"Because you heard those chants -- that was terrible," Karl noted.

"He could have -- well, the people were very angry," Trump countered.

"They were saying 'hang Mike Pence," the reporter pointed out.

Trump then gave a shocking response, appearing to justify the rioters' violent actions.

Transcript below.

Trump's Response

Trump told Karl that "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?" the former president asked.

"And I'm telling you: 50/50, it's right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them. 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. How can you pass a vote that you know is fraudulent?" he continued.

Pence Distanced Himself From Trump

This summer, Pence distanced himself from Trump.

Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, the former vice president said he was "proud" to certify Biden's win, per The New York Times.

"I will always be proud that we did our part on that tragic day to reconvene the Congress and fulfilled our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States," Pence said.

"The truth is, there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president," he added.