Trump: Pence ‘in many ways’ to blame for Jan. 6
Former vice president calls demands made to him improper, illegal
WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump further widened the breach with former Vice President Mike Pence by faulting him for the violence of Jan. 6, 2021 – because he refused a possibly illegal demand that he overturn Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.
“In many ways you can blame him for Jan. 6,” Trump told reporters Monday aboard his private plane en route to a campaign event in Iowa, according to The Washington Post.
Trump responded to questions about Pence, who considered the demand improper and illegal, and who spiked up his criticism of the former president during a weekend dinner with senior Washington journalists and dignitaries.
Again saying Trump was “wrong,” Pence said at the annual Gridiron dinner that “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 that history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
Trump’s demands, and the Jan. 6 insurrection, are subjects of a Justice Department special counsel investigation that involved the ex-president and Pence.
The special counsel has subpoenaed Pence to testify about Jan. 6. Attorneys for him and Trump are seeking to quash the subpoena, claiming that prosecutors are not entitled to details of private conversations between a president and a vice president.
As part of his job as vice president, Pence presided over the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes that certified Joe Biden’s election victory on Jan. 6, 2021.
Making unproven and false claims of fraud, Trump had demanded that Pence throw out electoral votes from certain states that Biden won, essentially handing the election to him.
Pence, citing constitutional scholars, said he lacked the legal authority to discount electoral votes.
Trump applied similar pressure to officials in other states that Biden carried. His efforts in Georgia are part of a grand jury investigation in Atlanta.
Responding to Pence’s statements in the Gridiron speech, Trump told reporters en route to Iowa: “Had he sent the votes back to the legislatures, they wouldn’t have had a problem with Jan. 6, so in many ways you can blame him for Jan. 6.”
Trump added: “Had he sent them back to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, the states, I believe, No. 1, you would have had a different outcome. But I also believe you wouldn’t have had ‘Jan. 6,’ as we call it.”
Pence said that never would have happened and that Trump’s public comments on the matter helped inspire the breach of the U.S. Capitol.
“Make no mistake about it: What happened that day was a disgrace,” Pence said in his Gridiron speech. “And it mocks decency to portray it any other way.”