Former President Trump on Monday claimed former Vice President Mike Pence was responsible for the violence on Jan. 6, 2021, two days after Pence took aim at his old boss for his conduct around the riots at the Capitol that day.
Trump, speaking to a group of reporters aboard his personal plane en route to a campaign event in Iowa, responded to comments Pence made at the annual Gridiron Dinner in Washington, D.C., in which the former vice president said “history will hold Donald Trump accountable” for the events of Jan. 6.
“Had he sent the votes back to the legislatures, they wouldn’t have had a problem with Jan. 6, so in many ways you can blame him for Jan. 6,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post. “Had he sent them back to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, the states, I believe, No. 1, you have had a different outcome. But I also believe you wouldn’t have had ‘Jan. 6’ as we call it.”
Pence has said he did not have the constitutional authority to reject the electoral votes on Jan. 6 and that Trump was “wrong” to suggest the vice president had the power to overturn election results.
“President Trump was wrong; I had no right to overturn the election,” Pence told the gathering of reporters and politicians on Saturday. “And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day. And I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
The courts have rejected Trump’s efforts to nullify the 2020 election, and Congress last December passed legislation to clarify that the vice president does not have the power to overturn a presidential election.
Trump on Monday suggested Pence’s comments stemmed from his desire to enter the GOP presidential primary.
“I guess he figured that being nice is not working,” Trump said. “But, you know, he’s out there campaigning. And he’s trying very hard. And he’s a nice man; I’ve known him; I had a very good relationship until the end.”
Pence, who was unflinchingly loyal to Trump throughout their four years in office, has for the past year consistently said he disagreed with Trump over Jan. 6. His comments on Saturday were among his most direct and critical to date.
Still, Pence is fighting a subpoena to testify as part of a special counsel investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. Pence has said he is willing to fight the subpoena up to the Supreme Court if necessary.
Trump is already a declared candidate in the 2024 field, and Pence is mulling a campaign of his own. The former vice president has made frequent trips to early primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.