In newly released audio, former president Donald Trump defends his supporters chanting “hang Mike Pence!” during the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The audio comes from an interview with the former president conducted by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl. The interview took place in March 2021 for the upcoming book Betrayal, which is set for publication on November 16.
“Were you ever worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?” Karl asked Trump during the interview.
Trump predictably said no, adding that he thought that the chant was “common sense,” citing the bogus claim that there was election fraud. Trump had urged then-Vice President Mike Pence to interfere in the counting of the Electoral College votes.
Although reporting has since found that Pence hemmed and hawed, consulting both former Vice President Dan Quayle and the Senate parliamentarian to determine his authority, he ultimately refused, drawing the ire of Trump and his mob of supporters who attacked the Capitol.
Investigating the coup attempt
The 1/6 Committee is stepping up its investigation, subpoenaing Trump administration officials and campaign staffers, even as members of Congress receive death threats. The bipartisan committee is examining Trump’s role in organizing and fomenting an insurrection in a desperate attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
While we have consistently used the words “coup attempt” to describe January 6th – after all, it bears all of the hallmarks of a self-coup – major media outlets have only recently begun to recognize the concerted effort to subvert America’s democracy and install an illegitimate president.
We’re hardly alone in acknowledging this. The Brookings Institute recognized the coup attempt for what it was back on January 9.
Charles T. Call writes:
Trump’s behavior constitutes a self-coup since he has sought to undermine the integrity of the November 3 election and has sought to overturn the results of an election. He urged voters to illegally vote twice; he sought to disenfranchise voters; he sought to coerce officials to alter the vote results. On January 6, Trump explicitly urged the mob to “walk down to the Capitol,” to “demand that Congress do the right thing,” to “show strength,” and to “take back our country.”
It should come as no surprise that Trump defended his supporters when they chanted “hang Mike Pence.” When the mob descended on the US Capitol, they did so at Trump’s behest.
While the 1/6 Committee is doing its job – despite the best efforts of Trump to undermine the investigation – Congress needs to step up and defend American democracy with stronger voting rights laws and enforcement against states that engage in voter suppression.