Former US Vice President Mike Pence has distanced himself from his former boss Donald Trump in an unprecedented manner. History will hold Trump accountable, Pence said after reports from US media on Saturday evening in Washington. He was referring to the role of the president, who had already been voted out at the time, when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Pence was his vice president for four years. The two could now compete against each other when deciding on the Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election.
"President Trump was wrong. I had no right to reverse the election result. And his rash words put my family and everyone on the Capitol in danger that day. And I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable." said Pence. The 63-year-old spoke at the dinner of the Gridiron Club, a journalists' association. He also left open whether he will apply for a candidacy for the White House.
Pence, as President of the Senate, was tasked with formally confirming the outcome of the November 2020 election that Trump lost. On that January 6, supporters of the President-elect stormed the seat of Parliament to stop the proceedings. Trump had previously openly called on his deputy to block confirmation of the election. To this day he does not admit his defeat, but speaks - without any evidence - of electoral fraud.
January 6, 2021 is a 'tragic day' for Pence
At Saturday's dinner, where guests usually crack jokes about other US politicians, Pence began his speech with some casual remarks about Trump, his successor Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and various possible Republican candidates for 2024. He then said, there was one thing he didn't make fun of and called January 6, 2021 a "tragic day".
Pence praised the media's role. "We were able to hold our position - also because you held your position. The American people know what happened that day because you never stopped reporting," Pence said, according to CNN. He called for never downplaying the violence of rioters against law enforcement officials. "As long as I live, I will never, ever belittle the injuries, the lives lost, or the heroism shown by law enforcement on that tragic day."