Trump spoke approvingly about ‘Hang Pence’ chants, report claims

Shocking account of president’s words comes from his own chief of staff

John Bowden
Wednesday 25 May 2022 20:45
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Capitol cop reveals rioters called him a 'traitor' for refusing to help hang Mike Pence
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Former President Donald Trump appeared to indicate his agreement with chants of rioters on January 6 as they stormed the Capitol and called for the murder of his own vice president, according to a shocking new report in The New York Times.

The account of the president’s words comes from Mark Meadows, Mr Trump’s own chief of staff, who according to the Times told colleagues that “Mr Trump had said something to the effect of, maybe Mr. Pence should be hung”, for his refusal to interfere with the process of certifying the 2020 election.

That account of Mr Meadows’ words is now in the hands of the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, according to the Times. Mr Meadows himself has not testified to the committee, but a number of former White House and Trump campaign officials have.

The Times further reported that it was unclear what “tone” Mr Trump had used, though it’s hard to imagine the president would have been in a joking mood while the US Capitol was being attacked.

Accounts of his words to Mr Meadows during the riot are not a surprise given that Mr Trump has defended the chants of the rioters, specifically involving violence against his own vice president, before in an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl.

“[I]t’s common sense, Jon,” Trump said of the chants in the audio published last November. “It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?”

But the new revelation about Mr Trump’s shocking apparent support for threats of violence against Mr Pence raises the question of why Mr Pence hasn’t broken further with his ex-boss since leaving office.

The ex-vice president said last year that he continues to speak with Mr Trump, although he acknowledged that they may never “see eye-to-eye” regarding January 6.

“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,” he said in June after leaving office months earlier.

He has, however, publicly opposed Mr Trump’s efforts to depose GOP officials in Georgia who refused to bend to his requests for interference in the 2020 election, efforts which saw failure on Tuesday with the re-nominations of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov Brian Kemp.

The January 6 committee continues to investigate the actions of the president and minute-by-minute happenings in the White House during the attack on the Capitol as the lawmakers investigate, among other things, whether the president was personally responsible for slow-walking a law enforcement response to the crisis.

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