For the first time since the violent insurrection of the US Capitol, former vice president Mike Pence acknowledged that he might not see “eye to eye” with his former boss Donald Trump regarding incidents of that “dark day.”
But Mr Pence fell short of holding Mr Trump responsible for the turn of events when supporters of the former president stormed the Capitol in an effort to overturn the election, with some of them chanting “hang Mike Pence.”
“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,” he continued.
"You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office. And I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day. But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years,” he said.
Mr Pence’s remarks were a rare departure from his previous stance of not breaking ranks to speak publicly against Mr Trump. In the aftermath of the elections, Mr Pence was under intense pressure from Mr Trump to derail the process of certification of the electoral college votes.
“If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Mr Trump had told his supporters on the day of the insurrection, as he reiterated the baseless claims of electoral fraud. “He has the absolute right to do it.”
Mr Pence had issued a statement saying he would not seek to stop the proceedings. The rift between the top GOP leaders over the Capitol riots was even more visible when Mr Pence attended president Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony while skipping Mr Trump’s sendoff.
But on Thursday, Mr Pence attempted to turn the events of 6 January on the Democrats as he tried to slam them for using the deadly Capitol riots as a way to divide the country to “advance their radical agenda.”
“And I will not allow Democrats or their allies in the media to use one tragic day to discredit the aspirations of millions of Americans, 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," he said.
"My fellow Republicans, for our country, for our future, for our children and our grandchildren, we must move forward, united," he said.
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