Former Vice President Mike Pence predicted on Saturday that Donald Trump will be held accountable for his alleged role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
Trump and Pence’s once-close working relationship during their White House tenure was marred by the riot when a group of Trump supporters, allegedly motivated by the former president’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, sought to block President Joe Biden‘s Electoral College certification.
Pence declined to overturn the election results, sparking Trump’s ire and beginning a years-long feud that has seen both men criticize the other’s response to the insurrection.
The former vice president offered perhaps his strongest rebuke against Trump during a speech at the Gridiron Club Dinner on Saturday, according to a report from the Associated Press.
A split image showing former President Donald Trump at CPAC in Dallas on August 6, 2022, alongside former Vice President Mike Pence at Fox News Channel Studios on February 22 in New York City. Pence on Saturday predicted that history will hold Trump accountable for his actions on January 6, 2021. Brandon Bell/Getty Images; Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said. “I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
He added: “Make no mistake about it, what happened that day was a disgrace. And it mocks decency to portray it any other way.”
Trump pressured Pence to block Biden’s Electoral College victory in the days prior to the riot, but Pence refused and has since said he did not have the authority to do so. During the Capitol riot, some Trump supporters chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.”
Trump has since defended these chants, which have otherwise faced bipartisan rebuke. He has also called for the January 6 rioters, some who have been prosecuted for their role in the event, to be released and has continued to spread claims of election fraud, despite a lack of substantial evidence.
Pence’s remarks on Saturday come as Trump is again seeking the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. He has made election issues a key component of his campaign, and several Trump-aligned Republicans emphasized election “fraud” during the 2022 midterms, though many of those candidates underperformed in key races.
Pence has not formally announced a presidential bid, but is seen as a potential challenger to Trump. Polls, however, show the former president remains the frontrunner in the GOP primary, even if his approval has slipped.
Pence Ordered to Testify in Justice Department’s Trump Investigations
Pence’s rebuke of Trump comes after special counsel Jack Smith—who is investigating Trump’s actions surrounding the 2020 presidential election as well as the classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida—ordered Pence to testify in the Department of Justice‘s (DOJ) probes into Trump.
Pence, however, is trying to fight the subpoena as legal experts say his testimony could be troubling for Trump. MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner said last week that everyone is “worried on team Trump” over Pence’s potential testimony.
The former vice president also quipped about Trump’s classified documents probe, according to the Associated Press.
“I read that some of those classified documents they found at Mar-a-Lago were actually stuck in the president’s Bible, which proves he had absolutely no idea they were there,” he said Saturday.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s campaign by email for comment.