Pence Backs Trump, Calls Indictment ‘Outrage’
Former Vice President Mike Pence sat down with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Thursday night to discuss the indictment leveled against his old boss Donald Trump. Despite the bad blood between Trump and Pence, the former VP quickly jumped to defend Trump’s position.
“I think the unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage,” Pence said. To millions of Americans “this will appear as nothing more than a political prosecution,” he added.
Pence’s reaction mirrored that of many Republican lawmakers, who reacted with outrage to a Manhattan grand jury’s decision to indict Trump on charges related to his 2016 hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
The former VP has indicated that he is considering making a bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, a move which would pit him directly against Trump, who has already announced his candidacy.
When questioned by Blitzer on if a conviction should disqualify Trump from running, or if he should drop out, Pence dodged the question. “I promise to answer that question if that approaches,” he said, “but I don’t want to talk about hypotheticals.”
Pence’s only (mild) criticism of Trump was related to his calls for protests and warnings of “death and destruction,” should he be indicted. Pence has personal experience with violence by protesting Trump supporters, given that he was a central target of the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“There’s no excuse for that kind of rhetoric on either side of this debate, and there’s really no reason to be calling for people to be protesting over it,” Pence said.
Of course, a discussion of protests led to a discussion of Jan. 6, particularly Trump’s foray into music production. The former president produced a recording of the national anthem with a group of Jan. 6 defendants awaiting trial in the D.C. jail and has taken to opening his rallies with it.
Pence expressed his discomfort with the song, reminding Blitzer that he and his family had to be forcibly evacuated from the Capitol to avoid the approaching mob.
“My position then, and continues to be today, [is] that those that engage in violence at the capital I believe should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “I’ll never diminish what happened that day, and I’ll never celebrate people that assaulted 140 police officers and ransacked our Capitol.”
Yet the ex-vice president continues to stand by Trump despite his accusations that the former president put his family in danger on Jan. 6 and saying that history will “hold Donald Trump accountable.”
Earlier this week, the former VP was ordered to testify before a grand jury impaneled through the DOJ’s investigation of Jan 6. Despite having almost become the sacrificial lamb on Trump’s altar of election denial, Pence still can’t seem to fully disavow the former president, and is still very willing to carry water for the former president’s legal troubles.