Former Vice President Mike Pence opens up about his break with Trump in a new book

Former Vice President Mike Pence opens up about his break with Trump in a new book

NEW YORK – Former Vice President Mike Pence accuses Donald Trump of endangering his family “and everyone who serves on Capitol Hill,” Jan. 6, 2021, in a new book released Tuesday.

In his book ‘So Help Me God’, Mr Pence discusses, for the first time in his own words, the former president’s unprecedented moves to ask him to overturn the 2020 election results. He also offers his version of events about the attack on the Capitol by hundreds of protesters , some of whom chanted “Hang Mike Pence” (“Hang Mike Pence”).

“They came to protest the outcome of the election and prevent Congress from fulfilling its responsibility to open and count the Electoral College votes,” he wrote. And, as I found out later, many were looking for me.”

The book, which follows Mike Pence’s political life – from his days as a young Democratic activist to his swearing in as a congressman in 2001 – generally defends Mr. Trump, avoiding some controversial episodes and defending him in several others.

“I have always been loyal to President Donald Trump,” it says at the beginning of the book.

But Mr. Pence, who has spent years refusing to publicly criticize his former boss, says Jan. 6, 2021, was the tipping point where, he wrote, Trump’s “reckless remarks put my family and everyone who served in the Capitol at risk.”

“We had a close relationship at work for four years. It didn’t end well,” Pence added, summing up their time in the White House.

Still, he explains, “we parted amicably when our service to the nation ended.”

“In the months that followed, we heard from each other from time to time, but when the president reverted to the rhetoric he used before that tragic day and began publicly criticizing those of us who defended the Constitution, I decided it was best for us to part ways.”

The book, published by Simon & Schuster, comes as Mike Pence looks increasingly likely to run for president in 2024, putting him in direct conflict with Mr Trump, who is expected to formally launch his own campaign for re-election. in Florida on Tuesday night.

Good idea at the start

Mr. Pence, who never directly states in the book that Democrat Joe Biden won the election, writes that when Donald Trump first suggested holding a rally in Washington on January 6, the day he was to preside over the election certification, he meant it’s a good idea. “My first thought was that a rally that day could help draw even more attention to the debates in the House of Representatives and the Senate,” he explains.

Mr. Pence recalls sitting in the Senate chamber when a staffer leaned over and informed him that rioters had entered the building. A member of his secret service then rushed over and insisted they leave. Mike Pence refused to leave the building and was instead taken to the Senate loading dock, where he spent hours, surrounded by staff and family, calling military and congressional leaders to coordinate the government’s response. Meanwhile, the president — who never bothered to check that Mr. Pence was safe — sat cooped up watching television.

“Everything was a blur of movement and chaos: security guards and police directing people to safety, staff screaming and running for cover. I could see the intensity in the eyes of the Secret Service men; it was also heard in the voices of the Capitol Police. I heard footsteps and songs of anger,” writes the former president.

Yet Mr Pence insists he was ‘not scared’, just angry at what was happening.

At 2:24 p.m., while the vice president was in hiding, Mr. Trump posted this infamous tweet saying that Mr. Pence “didn’t have the guts to do what needed to be done to protect our country and our Constitution.”

I just shook my head, Pence said. The truth was, as ill-advised as the president’s tweet was, I really didn’t have time. Rioters ransacked the Capitol. […] The president decided to be part of the problem. I was determined to be part of the solution. I ignored the tweet and went back to work.

Preparations for 2024

Mike Pence also describes Mr. Trump’s campaign to pressure him to throw out the election results, even though the Constitution makes clear that the vice president’s role is purely ceremonial.

Over lunch on November 16, 2020, Mr. Pence said he told his boss that “if the legal challenges fail and he doesn’t want to budge, he might just accept the election results, continue the transition and plan a political comeback, win a Senate runoff in Georgia, in the Virginia governor’s race in 2021, and in the House and Senate races in 2022.”

Mr Pence also reportedly told him he might run for president in 2024, to which Mr Trump reportedly replied that “2024 is so far away”.

At another lunch, Mr. Pence claims he told the president that he saw the election not as a defeat but as a “break,” encouraging him to concede the results after exhausting all legal remedies.

“He nodded, gestured as if to say ‘This is worth considering,’ and walked back into the back lane,” he wrote.

But as lawsuits from Donald Trump’s legal team continued to fail, Mr Pence claims that the former president’s temper soured and he became increasingly angry. Mr Pence says Mr Trump berated him, telling him: ‘You’re too honest.’

“Hundreds of thousands will hate you […] people are going to think you’re stupid,” Mr. Trump reportedly told his vice president.

“As the days passed, it became clear that there would be real political costs for me when I preside over the certification of the 2020 elections,” he emphasizes in the book. I always knew I had no power to overturn an election. I knew I would hurt my friend if I participated in the certification. But my duty was clear.”

Long meeting

After the Capitol was cleared of rioters, Congress reconvened and Mr. Pence presided over the certification of his and Donald Trump’s defeat. For several days the two men did not speak to each other. But when they finally met, five days later, Mr. Pence said they spent more than 90 minutes together, alone.

“I told him I had been praying for him for the last four and a half years and encouraged him to pray,” Mr. Pence wrote. Mr. Trump reportedly remained silent.

“With sincere sadness in his voice, the president then asked himself: ‘What if we didn’t have a meeting? What if they hadn’t gone to the Capitol? Then he said, “It’s too terrible to end up like this.” »»

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