Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday defended the Republican National Committee’s resolution describing the events of Jan. 6, 2021 as “legitimate political discourse,” despite the attack resulting in five deaths, dozens of injured police officers, and some rioters calling for Pence himself to be hanged or otherwise executed.
The resolution was not “talking about people that engaged in violence against persons or property that day,” Pence told a group of Republicans at Stanford University, according to The Washington Post. Instead, he claimed, it was referring to “a whole range of people that have been set upon” by the House Jan. 6 committee. The resolution censured Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), both of whom serve on the committee, for “persecuting” those the resolution dubbed “ordinary citizens.”
Pence’s comments echoed RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s attempt to justify the resolution’s wording. McDaniel claimed it referred to nonviolent GOP activists in several states, such as those who are now under investigation for sending forged election certificates to the government in an effort to overturn Joe Biden’s win. Very legitimate!
Pence’s willingness to give his party bosses cover despite their fealty to former President Trump, who has repeatedly attacked Pence since the insurrection, may have something to do with the fact that he hasn’t ruled out a 2024 presidential run. He’s going to need the RNC’s help to win the party’s nomination, and he made sure to show his appreciation on Thursday.
“I just don’t know too many people around the country, including my friends at the RNC, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who have any different view than it was a tragic day, that the people that ransacked the Capitol were wrong and should be held to account in the law,” he added. “And I think they made a very clear statement, after the fact, that said, ‘We were talking about what’s happening in Washington today, with the Jan. 6 committee’ … and I believe them. They’re good people, and I believe that’s what they meant.”
If that’s what the RNC really meant, it’s what they would have written. Instead, they carried Trump’s water by portraying what happened on Jan. 6 as legitimate and the work of the Jan. 6 committee, with which Pence’s staff has been cooperating, as an illegitimate “persecution.”
Pence’s comments on Thursday come two weeks after he bashed Trump, whose legal bills the RNC is currently paying, while speaking to a conservative group. “This week, our former president said I had the right to ‘overturn the election.’ President Trump is wrong,” Pence said. “I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone.”
“Frankly there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one president could choose the American president,” he added.