Former Vice President Mike Pence, who congressional investigators said was 40 feet from a pro-Trump lynch mob during the Capitol riot, said Monday he will not allow Democrats to use the insurrection to distract from their “failed agenda.”
Pence, the focus of the third public hearing of the House committee investigating the 2021 riot, recognized Jan. 6 as a “tragic day,” but defended the record of former President Donald Trump’s administration.
“January 6 was a tragic day, and I know we did our duty, but I will always be proud of our record,” Pence said in an interview with Fox News Digital following his speech on the economy at the University Club of Chicago. “And I am not going to allow the Democrats to use that tragic day to distract attention from their failed agenda or to demean the intentions of 74 million Americans who rallied behind our cause.”
Pence said he was concerned over what he called “voting irregularities” in the 2020 election, but stopped well short of embracing Trump’s lies about vote fraud.
“I had hoped that the courts — including the Supreme Court — would have taken up and considered the fact that a number of states had changed rules governing elections,” Pence said. “But, ultimately, the courts passed on them, and the Electoral College certified the outcome, and I knew that my oath was clear.”
The House panel on Thursday revealed the pro-Trump mob was 40 feet from the vice president and his family at one point on Jan. 6. Some rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after a Trump tweet calling out Pence for refusing to block President Joe Biden’s win.
The hearing also revealed members of the Proud Boys extremist group “would have killed Mike Pence if given the chance,” a committee member said.
Despite the harrowing experience, Pence told Fox News Digital he and Trump “were very close friends,” and ended their term in office “amicably.”
“I don’t know if the president and I will ever see eye to eye on my duties on Jan. 6, but, in the aftermath of that tragic day, we sat down, and we talked through it,” Pence said.
Asked if he is considering a presidential run in 2024, Pence did not rule it out, but said his priority is for the GOP to win this year’s midterm elections.
“Karen and I will do what we’ve always done — we’ll take time to pray about it, we’ll seek counsel of trusted friends and advisers, and we’ll go where we’re called,” Pence said.
“One thing I’ll tell you is that I won’t let anybody else make that decision for me,” Pence added.
Members of the House committee have signaled that they may subpoena Pence to testify.
“Certainly a possibility,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “We’re not excluding anyone or anything at this point.”
On Tuesday, the committee will hear from state officials, including Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to discuss the pressure they were under to block Biden’s win.