History will hold former US President Donald Trump “accountable” for his role in the 2021 attack on the US Capitol, his former deputy Mike Pence has said, offering his strongest rebuke yet to his former boss.
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said in a speech at the annual Gridiron Dinner in Washington, DC, on Saturday.
“I had no right to cancel the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone on Capitol Hill that day. And I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.
The remarks are likely to widen the rift between former running mates, who have been at odds since Pence refused to go along with Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and stay in office.
Some of the thousands of people who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 called for Pence to be hanged, forcing him to rush to safety.
Pence was on Capitol Hill when Trump supporters stormed the building in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the results of the election where Trump lost to Joe Biden.
As the Vice President has the constitutional role of President of the Senate, Pence presided over what had always been the ceremonial task of approving Electoral College votes to select the President and Vice President.
Trump has already declared his intention to seek another term as president in the 2024 election, and Pence has indicated he may challenge him for the Republican nomination.
Pence rarely addressed the incident in the following months, but has now stepped up his criticism of the rioters and his former boss’ behavior that day.
He was highly critical of Trump’s conduct in recent media interviews. In a memoir published in November, he accused Trump of putting his family at risk.
“What happened that day was a disgrace,” he said. “And it’s a mockery of decency to present it any other way. As long as I live, I will never diminish the injuries sustained, the lives lost, or the heroism of law enforcement on that tragic day.
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