Donald Trump blames Mike Pence for January 6 violence because he wouldn’t do what rioters wanted

Trump’s comments come two days after Pence says history will hold the former president accountable for January 6

Arpan Rai
Tuesday 14 March 2023 11:46 GMT
Donald Trump Jr criticises Mitch McConnell over Jan 6 attack remarks

Donald Trump has said that his former ally Mike Pence can be blamed in “many ways” for the January 6 riots at the US Capitol.

“Had he sent the votes back to the legislatures, they wouldn’t have had a problem with January 6, so in many ways you can blame him for January 6,” the former president said on Monday.

Mr Trump made the remarks while speaking to reporters on his personal plane while he was headed to a campaign event in Iowa.

Pointing to the former vice-president’s refusal to outlaw the electoral college votes in Congress as sought by him, Mr Trump said: “Had he sent them back to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, the states, I believe, number one, you would have a different outcome. But I also believe you wouldn’t have had ‘January 6’ as we call it.”

This comes just two days after Mr Pence took an aim at his former boss and said that he knows history will hold Mr Trump accountable over the January 6 insurrection, amping up the tussle between them as they prepare to battle over the Republican nomination in next year’s election.

“President Trump was wrong," Mr Pence said at the event attended by politicians and journalists on Saturday.

He added: "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 history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”

The former vice president is likely weighing a 2024 Republican presidential bid that would pit him against the former president.

Mr Trump responded to his former ally’s condemnation and said that Mr Pence’s single-digit outcomes in recent surveys on potential White House candidates from the Republican camp for 2024 elections.

“I guess he figured that being nice is not working. But you know, he’s out there campaigning. And he’s trying very hard. And he’s a nice man, I’ve known him, I had a very good relationship until the end,” Mr Trump said.

Mr Trump had strongly pursued and made attempts to convince his vice president to interfere in the election and attempt to overturn the results up until the very hours of the Senate’s meeting to certify his loss, despite all indications that Mr Pence had no intention of doing so.

The former president, vying for a second-term at the White House, had lost the electoral vote on 3 November 2020 to Democrat Joe Biden by 306 to 232 and the popular vote by 81.3 million ballots to 74.2 million.

After Mr Pence refused, and as some rioters stormed the Capitol, some chanted that they wanted to “hang Mike Pence”.

Mr Trump immediately and baselessly began to insist the contest had been “rigged” in a vast nationwide conspiracy orchestrated by his opponents, a fallacy he has kept up ever since, and tried to get Mr Pence onboard.

On Monday, he insisted that the change in bipartisan legislation in December showed that Mr Pence did have the legal shot at certifying the electoral college results before the new law made its way.

“He had the right to send them back, otherwise they wouldn’t have changed the Voting Act,” Mr Trump said.

On the other hand, Mr Pence doubled-down on Republicans and right-wing media outlets accused of trying to downplay the insurrection on Saturday.

“Tourists don’t injure 140 police officers by sightseeing,” Mr Pence said. “Tourists don’t break down doors to get to the Speaker of the House or voice threats against public officials.”

Mr Trump has already declared his candidacy, while Mr Pence has not, but he’s been laying the groundwork to run.

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