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Trump attacks Mike Pence for not rejecting electoral votes in 2020




A day after the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault illustrated the grave danger the rioters posed to Mike Pence, former President Donald J. Trump has unleashed a new attack on the man who attacked him. had served as vice president, blaming him for refusing to intervene. with certification from the Electoral College of the 2020 Presidential Contest.

Speaking Friday afternoon before a church group, Mr Trump said Mike lacked the courage to act in trying to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes that were being cast for Joseph R. Biden Jr.

On Thursday, the House panel demonstrated that Mr. Trump and his advisers had been repeatedly told that Mr. Pence had no authority to block certification and that it would violate the law, but urged him to try anyway.

The committee also used witnesses to dismantle and debunk Mr. Trump’s false allegations of widespread voter fraud arguments that he repeated in his keynote address Friday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Nashville.

Mr Trump has grown angry watching the hearings, knowing he has no bullying pulpit from which to respond, according to his advisers. He used much of his Friday speech to repeat his false campaign claims and disparage Mr Pence.

The themes of the January 6 House committee hearings

Most striking was the context of the attack on Mr Pence, whose presence on the presidential ticket in 2016 was key to reassuring evangelical voters that Mr Trump, a three-times married New York real estate developer , whose first divorce was tabloid fodder for months and who had supported abortion rights, had become sufficiently conservative on social issues.

Mr Pence, who often speaks about his religious faith, is a favorite among voters attending the conference. But that didn’t stop Mr. Trump from denouncing him from the stage on Friday.

After repeating allegations of voter fraud that have been largely debunked, including by his former attorney general, William P. Barr, Mr. Trump turned to Mr. Pence.

First, he insisted he did not call Mr. Pence a wimp during a phone call with the vice president on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, even though Mr. Trump’s former aide, Nick Luna, had testified under penalty of perjury about such a comment. I don’t even know who these people are, Mr. Trump told the crowd.

I never called Mike Pence a wimp, said Mr Trump, whose daughter Ivanka was on the call and later told his chief of staff that Mr Trump had indeed called Mr Pence a coward , using a vulgarity. Then Mr. Trump went on to describe Mr. Pence as weak.

Mike Pence was blessed to be awesome. He had a chance to be, frankly, historic, the former president said. But just like Bill Barr and the rest of those weak people, he said, Mr. Pence did not have the courage to act. The comment was greeted with applause.

Mr. Trump continued to mock Mr. Pence, whose aides testified he had repeatedly told Mr. Trump that he had no authority to reject Mr. Bidens’ Electoral College victory or to declare a 10-day suspension of the session of Congress to send the votes to the states for reconsideration.

Mike Pence had absolutely no choice but to be a human treadmill, Mr Trump said.

Mr. Trump also misrepresented Thomas Jefferson’s 1801 certification of presidential victory, a process Jefferson, then vice president, oversaw to argue that Mr. Pence should have used that model to keep Mr. Trump in power.

I told Mike, if you do this, you can be Thomas Jefferson, Mr. Trump said. And then after it all happened, I looked at it one day and said, Mike, I hate to say this, but you’re not Thomas Jefferson.

Marc Short, Mr Pence’s former chief of staff, said that conversation never happened. Mr. Short did not comment more broadly on Mr. Trump’s speech.

Mr. Trump also complained that the House committee edited videos of his former aides’ testimony so that they were not shown in their full context. He seems to refer indirectly to the testimony of his daughter Ivanka, whose words were used against her father in two hearings.

Speaking about the crowd that gave his speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6 and swarmed the Capitol, Mr. Trump remained defensive. It was a simple protest, he said. It got out of control.




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