Former US Vice President Mike Pence is considering a run for the White House executive chair and is also prepared to run against his former companion Donald Trump.
Ultimately, the American people must decide whether Trump can be president again, Pence said in an interview broadcast by ABC TV on Monday (local time). But he thinks that there will be better alternatives in the future.
Pence said he and his family are considering running for the Republicans. And if that meant competing against his former boss Trump, he was ready: "Then it will be like that."
Trump is expected to announce a new presidential candidacy on Wednesday night. Pence is considered by Republicans to be a possible competitor for Trump in the 2024 election, as is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. For the Democrats, President Joe Biden wants to decide early next year whether he wants to run for a second term. He emerged strengthened from last week's general election after the debacle predicted by many polls for the Democrats did not materialize.
The ABC interview showed how Trump's behavior during his supporters' attack on the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021 led to the vice's break with the president.
Trump's supporters had stormed the Houses of Parliament while Pence presided over Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the November 2020 presidential election. Trump previously heated up the crowd at a rally near the White House by repeating his false allegations of voter fraud.
Trump had also claimed in the days before that Pence could simply reject election results from individual states - which legal experts and the vice president considered illegal. During the attack, Trump then tweeted that Pence "didn't have the guts to do what was supposed to be done." Calls were heard in the crowd for Pence to be hanged. Pence was escorted to his motorcade by bodyguards but refused to leave the Capitol loading dock, he stressed. He didn't want to give the attackers the satisfaction of seeing his convoy of vehicles jetting away. After the attack ended, Congress, under his chairmanship, completed the confirmation of Biden's victory.
Trump's statements and behavior at the time were dangerous, Pence said in an interview broadcast by ABC TV on Monday. "It was clear that he decided to be part of the problem."
Seeing the rioters storm the Capitol infuriated him, Pence said. From the loading dock, he worked with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to organize armed units to protect the Capitol. Pence compared the situation to the response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks: "At that moment there were no Republicans or Democrats, just Americans." He didn't hear anything from Trump that day and the two only spoke to each other again five days later.