Former president Donald Trump reportedly defended his supporters’ threatening chats to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence as they stormed the US Capitol in the deadly January 6 riot.
The former Republican president openly supported the threats to Pence, who went before Congress that day to certify the 2020 presidential election results in favor of Joe Biden, according to excerpts of an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl released Friday.
When asked about the chants to ‘Hang Mike Pence’, Trump said his supporters ‘were very angry’ and reiterated his false claim of voter fraud.
‘It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you – if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? – how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?’ Trump said, according to the report.
The former president also said he was not too worried about Pence’s safety during the January 6 siege at the Capitol.
‘I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape,’ Trump said, according to audio from the 90-minute interview, which was published by Axios.
Pence has said he was proud of his role in certifying the 2020 election results. Both men are potential Republican candidates for the 2024 presidential election.
Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 as Pence and members of Congress met to certify Biden’s presidential victory. Four people died during the riot, and three Capitol police officers died afterwards, while scores of other officers were injured in the attacks.
Nearly 700 people have been charged in the riot and Congress continues to investigate the deadly day.
The release of Trump’s comments, which are to be included in Karl’s upcoming book ‘Betrayal’, which will be released Tuesday, comes amid increasing concern in the US over domestic extremism, including threats to local election officials.
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