Pence Slams Trump for Jan. 6 in Untelevised Speech But Refuses to Testify to DOJ

Pence is predicted to compete for the GOP nomination towards Trump in 2024.

In a speech over the weekend, former Vice President Mike Pence criticized former President Donald Trump for his actions previous the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol constructing.

“[Trump’s] reckless phrases endangered my household and everybody on the Capitol that day, and I do know historical past will maintain Donald Trump accountable,” Pence said on Saturday on the annual Gridiron Dinner.

Within the days after Trump misplaced the 2020 election to now-President Joe Biden, Trump had demanded that Pence — in his position as president of the Senate and the ceremonial head of the certification of the Electoral Faculty — reject a number of states’ lists of electors in order that faux electors, organized by Trump’s marketing campaign, might be counted as an alternative. After consulting with authorized consultants, Pence refused to do so, a transfer that was denounced by Trump in his “Cease the Steal” speech outdoors the White Home on January 6.

Later that day, because the mob of Trump loyalists descended upon the Capitol constructing, dozens referred to as for Mike Pence to be hanged — reportedly to the delight of the previous president.

“Make no mistake about it, what occurred that day was a shame,” Pence said on Saturday. “And it mocks decency to painting it some other means.”

The Gridiron Dinner, which is not televised, has been held yearly for 138 years. The occasion options politicians and journalists from throughout the political spectrum, and friends often embody jokes of their speeches.

Pence, who’s more likely to announce a run for president within the 2024 election season (pitting him towards Trump, who has already introduced that he’s working within the Republican primaries), joked that Trump’s ego was so fragile that the previous president had wished him to sing the Bette Midler ballad “Wind Beneath My Wings” to placate him.

Pence’s speech additionally included homophobic jokes about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the primary overtly homosexual Cupboard member in U.S. historical past. Pence derided Buttigieg’s resolution to spend time away from work together with his husband and their just lately adopted twins as “maternity go away.” He additionally steered that the nation had “postpartum melancholy” resulting from Buttigieg’s work within the Biden administration.

Observers have famous that Pence’s criticisms of Trump ring hole given his reluctance to sentence the previous president beneath oath within the Division of Justice’s (DOJ) grand jury investigation into makes an attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Although particular counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed Pence to talk earlier than the grand jury in early February, Pence has thus far refused to testify, claiming that he has legislative immunity as a result of he was president of the Senate on the day of the Capitol assault.

“I’m glad he mentioned it,” Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson told MSNBC host Al Sharpton over the weekend, referring to Pence’s condemnation of Trump, “but it surely’s not ample that he refuses to say so on the report, and in entrance of the suitable investigative our bodies.”

In the identical MSNBC phase, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) wondered why Pence’s comments were made at a private dinner and never “in entrance of the American public — or earlier than the particular counsel which has subpoenaed him to testify in regards to the occasions main as much as January 6.”

Pence’s phrases might theoretically be used as proof in Smith’s investigation. However his feedback gained’t carry as a lot weight as they might in the event that they had been made beneath oath to a grand jury.

Social media customers criticized Pence for being prepared to denounce Trump at a personal dinner however to not investigators.

“Pence won’t shield the American folks and our democracy by testifying in truth earlier than the grand jury about Trump’s legal stress marketing campaign to overturn the outcomes of a presidential election,” former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner said.

Pence is “the important thing witness” within the DOJ’s investigation of Trump, author Keith Boykin said, “and he’s too afraid to testify towards him. That’s not braveness. That’s cowardice.”

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