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The then-vice president was inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as right-wing extremists and other supporters of then-President Trump stormed the complex in a destructive and violent effort to disrupt congressional certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump.
Pence was on Capitol Hill to oversee the joint session of Congress that was voting to certify the election, and for days had been pressured by the former president and his allies to overturn the Electoral College results and send the election back to the states. Some of the rioters who had stormed the Capitol called for Pence’s death, chanting “hang Mike Pence.”
By following his Constitution duties instead of following Trump’s wishes and rejecting the results, Pence has endured the wrath of the former president and some of Trump’s most devout loyalists and supporters.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to officiate as a joint session of the House and Senate convenes to count the Electoral College votes cast in November’s election, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Over the past year Pence – who along with members of Congress was forced to move to secure rooms while the Capitol was stormed – called the attack a “dark” and “tragic” day in American history. But he’s emphasized “that same day we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”
In comments he first made in June and has since repeated, Pence has acknowledged his now frayed relationship with his former boss, noting, “I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye about that day.”
But the former vice president has also appeared to downplay the significance of attack, describing it in an interview late last year with the Christian Broadcasting Network as “one tragic day in January” that he argued was being used by Trump’s critics to undermine supporters of the former president.
Pence has also repeatedly spotlighted his belief that “there were irregularities” in the 2020 presidential election, but he doesn’t go as far as the former president, who continuously charges – without offering concrete proof – that the election was “RIGGED” and “stolen.”
But his acknowledgement that he did his “duty” in upholding the election results pretty much guarantees Pence has lost the support of a portion of the MAGA world should he launch a bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
Some top Pence aides – including Marc Short, one of Pence’s closest advisers and his final chief of staff at the vice president’s office – are cooperating with a special congressional committee investigating the Capitol attack, sources have confirmed to Fox News.
Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, chairman of the Democratic dominated House select committee, has said he wants to hear directly from Pence.
Asked a month ago during a stop in New Hampshire whether he’ll cooperate with the committee, Pence told Fox News and The Associated Press that “we’ll evaluate any of those requests as they come”
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a vocal anti-Trump Republican and one of only two GOP representatives on the committee, told NBC News on Thursday: “We look forward to continuing the cooperation that we’ve had with members of the former vice president’s team, and I look forward as well to his cooperation.”
And Cheney, who was stripped of her House GOP leadership position because of her anti-Trump comments and who is facing a primary challenge from a Republican endorsed by the former president, praised Pence. She called him a “hero” for his actions a year ago.