In some of his harshest language to date, former Vice President Mike Pence Saturday night condemned former President Donald Trump’s continued election denialism, calling Trump’s actions “wrong.”
“History will hold Donald Trump accountable,” Pence said, addressing an audience of politicians and journalists at the Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington, D.C.
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said about Trump’s baseless claims that there was voter fraud in the 2020 election. “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 that history will hold Donald Trump accountable for his actions.”
Pence also criticized right-wing politicians and media personalities who have sought to sanitize the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.
“It was not, as some would have you believe, tourists visiting the Capitol,” Pence said. “Tourists don’t injure 140 police officers by sightseeing. Tourists don’t break down doors to get to the speaker of the House.”
This week, Fox News media personality Tucker Carlson aired a controversial report about the Jan. 6 attack using video provided exclusively by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Carlson falsely claimed Capitol Police officers helped the mob of Trump’s supporters and acted as “tour guides.”
Carlson also claimed that the attack was “mostly peaceful,” and alleged that a majority of the rioters who unlawfully entered the Capitol were “sightseers.”
“It mocks decency to portray [Jan. 6] in any other way,” Pence said Saturday.
Following the Gridiron dinner, Pence told CBS News that while the majority of his speech was written ahead of time, his comments concerning Trump came together Saturday.
Trump publicly pressured Pence to overturn election results after weeks of alleging mass voter fraud. Pence resisted, saying he could not change the outcome, and after the pro-Trump mob was cleared from the Capitol, Pence and members of Congress certified the election results for Biden.
Pence added he was “not afraid,” as he watched the pro-Trump mob ascend on the Capitol, but instead, that he was was “angry.”
Pence, a possible challenger to Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, is yet to announce an official bid. Recently, he told CBS News that he and his wife are “continuing to give prayerful consideration to entering the race.”