Former Vice President Mike Pence has been fairly coy about his feelings regarding his former boss, ex-President Donald Trump.
He has been critical, but his criticisms have been muted as the former Indiana governor navigates the post-2020 landscape for the Republican Party. However, it seems that he is done treating Trump with kid gloves.
At Saturday’s annual white-tie Gridiron Dinner, which politicians and journalists attend, Pence blasted Trump over the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence stated. “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.”
Trump spent the days and weeks leading up to the official certification of election results trying to pressure Pence into refusing to certify those results. When the incursion at the Capitol building was underway, several protestors erected a gallows and were heard chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”
“Make no mistake about it, what happened that day was a disgrace,” Pence said in his Saturday evening remarks. “And it mocks decency to portray it any other way.”
Some quotes from Mike Pence on Saturday night at the Gridiron Dinner in DC pic.twitter.com/1KEQvryu4L
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 12, 2023
Pence’s comments come as Republicans call for more transparency over what happened on the day of the riot. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been releasing previously unaired tapes from January 6 to Fox News Host Tucker Carlson, who has been showing them during his show. The reaction from center-left media outlets and Democrats has been largely outrage, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer going so far as to call for Fox owner Rupert Murdoch to take Carlson off the air.
The result, however, has been big: Carlson’s ratings have been through the roof as more viewers have tuned in because of the drama surrounding the ordeal.
But Pence’s comments also come as the former Vice President is eyeing a run for the Republican nomination in 2024.
The field is still unsettled, with three candidates – Trump, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy – already declared and several more looking to enter. Along with Pence, former Trump admin official Mike Pompeo, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are all expected to jump in.
Republicans are at odds with how to proceed in 2023. Trump’s campaign has been focused on largely attacking Ron DeSantis and harping on the “stolen election” rhetoric of 2020 – rhetoric that has yet to be proven or move the needle in terms of electoral politics – but Pence’s comments are likely to provoke a response from his former boss. At the same time, the other candidates appear focused on moving ahead and defeating the Democrats.
Various polls, meanwhile, show the Republican base split. Trump commands a sizable lead in some polls, while others have him neck-and-neck with DeSantis (and some even show him behind DeSantis). Trump still has a very vocal and very passionate base, but there are signs in the data that Republican voters may be eyeing the opportunity to move on.
Pence’s comments will be part of that, no doubt, as the remainder of the Republican field attempts to find a path forward and attempt to do so without Trump.
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Originally Posted on: https://redstate.com/joesquire/2023/03/12/pence-goes-on-the-offensive-says-trump-endangered-my-family-on-january-6-2021-n715359