Trump tweeted Pence lacked ‘courage’ as VP was running for his life from Capitol rioters

Impeachment trial managers showed previously unreleased surveillance footage from inside the Capitol on the day of the violent insurrection

Namita Singh
Thursday 11 February 2021 09:57
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Surveillance video captures Mike Pence evacuating Senate chamber during Capitol assault

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Minutes before Mike Pence was being ushered out of the Senate chamber, narrowly escaping a mob that wanted to “hang” him, Donald Trump tweeted that the former vice president did not have the “courage” to agree to his demand of stopping the Congressional certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory.

Timestamped at 2:26:02 pm, the previously unreleased security footage from inside the US Capitol during the 6 January insurrection showed Mr Pence and his family being rushed out of the chamber as rioters got within 100 feet of him. 

Just two minutes earlier, at 2:24 pm Mr Trump tweeted from his now-suspended account, saying: "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!"

Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman steered the mob away from the chambers shortly after insurrectionists in tactical gear, including at least one person carrying a baseball bat, while others carried flagpoles, broke through windows on the Senate side of the Capitol.

Read more: Follow all the latest Trump impeachment news live

While it is unclear at the moment whether Mr Trump knew about the direct security threat to his deputy at the time of the tweet, Deseret News previously reported that he misdialed senator Tommy Tuberville and called senator Mike Lee instead during the insurrection.

Mr Lee had recounted to the paper about the call from Mr Trump that he had passed to Mr Tuberville and that lasted for about five to ten minutes. Mr Lee reportedly said that he stood nearby because he didn’t want to lose his cellphone in the commotion. 

But during the impeachment trial on Wednesday, when the House impeachment managers cited the Deseret News account, Senator Lee objected to the portrayal of the accidental phone call from the then-President and demanded that it be struck out.

“They are not true. I never made those statements. I ask that they be stricken,” Senator Lee demanded.

Eventually, representative Jamie Raskin, the lead House manager agreed to withdraw the anecdote, which was cast as another piece of evidence that Mr Trump attempted to undermine the election results.

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