Pence Distances Himself From Trump Over Jan. 6 Insurrection
Former Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday night that he doubts that he and former President Donald Trump will ever see "eye to eye" over the Jan. 6 insurrection led by a mob of pro-Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol.
In a speech to a Republican group in New Hampshire, Pence called Jan. 6 "a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol, but thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled, the Capitol was secured and that same day, we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States."
Pence was at the Capitol that day to oversee the counting of electoral votes, a normally ceremonial task that was interrupted by the Trump supporters, some of whom shouted "Hang Mike Pence," and forced lawmakers and the vice president to evacuate.
"President Trump and I have spoken many times since we've left office, and I don't know if we'll ever see eye to eye on that day," Pence said, "but I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years."
Pence spoke at the annual Hillsborough County Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in Manchester. Pence's appearance in New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first presidential primary, is seen as a testing of the waters, as he decides whether to mount his own run for the presidency.
But while delicately distancing himself from Trump, Pence offered up plenty of red meat for the GOP crowd and praise for the former president.
He tried to turn Jan. 6 onto Democrats, saying their calls for an independent commission to investigate the events of that day and what led up to it were political.
"I will not allow Democrats or their allies in the media to use one tragic day to discredit the aspirations of millions of Americans," Pence said, "or allow Democrats or their allies in the media to distract our attention from a new administration intent on dividing our country to advance their radical agenda."
Two days after President Biden attended a commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, in which a Black community was torched by a white mob, Pence asserted that "America is not a racist country," and that it was "past time for America to discard the left-wing myth of systemic racism." He also said, "Black lives are not endangered by police. Black lives are saved by police."
Pence called Biden "the most liberal president since FDR," and added, "They've proposed trillions of dollars in a so-called infrastructure bill that's just a thinly disguised climate change bill."
Trump, who polls show remains the favorite of most GOP voters, delivers one of the first speeches of his post-presidency Saturday in North Carolina.