During the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol building, some demonstrators burst out into the chant “Hang Mike Pence” as they protested against certifying the results of the 2020 election. Now reports indicate that the House committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 has heard testimony indicating that former President Donald Trump approved of the chant.
When former Vice President Mike Pence accepted the election results, the mob converged on the Capitol, chanting for his death. Politico reported that three people “familiar with the matter” said Trump approved of the chant. Two of the three people with whom Politico spoke said that the detail of Trump’s approval has appeared in more than one testimony before the committee.
It’s unclear what Trump did or said, but Politico reported that then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows informed several people “that Trump had signaled a positive view of the prospect of hanging the vice president.”
CNN reported that two sources familiar with the matter told them that Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Meadows, indicated that the former president told Meadows that he approved of the chants.
Although the former president’s Twitter account has been deleted, Slate reported his now-deleted tweet criticizing Pence, posted on Jan. 6: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
During the riot, Secret Service agents moved Pence to an underground garage, and he was unharmed.
Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Trump, criticized the committee and the leak. “This partisan committee’s vague ‘leaks,’ anonymous testimony and willingness to alter evidence proves it’s just an extension of the Democrat smear campaign that has been exposed time and time again for being fabricated and dishonest,” he said, per The New York Times. “Americans are tired of the Democrat lies and the charades, but, sadly, it’s the only thing they have to offer.”
The New York Times reported that Pence had begun distancing himself from the former president weeks prior to Jan. 6. The Times also said regarding the reports of Trump’s approval of the chants, “It is not clear what tone Mr. Trump was said to have used. But the reported remark was further evidence of how extreme the rupture between the president and his vice president had become.”