Republican Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.) on Sunday repeatedly refused to condemn President Donald Trump for defending protesters’ calls to “hang Mike Pence” during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, with Barrasso instead praising the former president for bringing “a lot of energy to the party.”
“This Week” host George Stephanopoulos asked Barrasso four times whether he, or his party, takes issue with Trump defending calls by his supporters to kill the former vice president. Each time, Barrasso deflected.
“President Trump brings a lot of energy to the party. He’s an enduring force. Elections are about the future, not the past,” he responded at one point.
ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl had asked Trump in a recent interview whether he was concerned about Pence’s safety during the attack, which left five people dead.
Trump said he wasn’t worried about Pence, reasoning that he thought the vice president was “well-protected” and he “had heard he was in very good shape.”
When Karl pressed that the rioters were chanting “hang Mike Pence,” Trump, who had publicly criticized Pence for failing to overturn the 2020 election result, came to their defense.
“Well the people were very angry,” Trump replied. “Because it’s common sense. ... How can you, if you know a vote is fraudulent, right, how can you pass on a fraudulent vote?”
Republican Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), in a separate interview Sunday with CNN’s “State of the Union,” offered a different take on Trump’s comments, saying he personally saw the gallows that had been constructed by Trump supporters outside the Capitol. Trump’s behavior is “not right” nor “appropriate,” he said.
“It was a really scary day,” Upton said. “It’s so unsettling, you know, this is not what our democracy is about, these physical threats.”