Mike Pence said in a new interview that former President Donald Trump's Jan. 6 tweet that he lacked "the courage" to overturn the 2020 election results was "reckless" and he criticized Trump as "a part of the problem" — some of Pence's harshest comments to date about the former president's actions during the 2021 riot at the Capitol.
The former vice president said in an interview with David Muir of ABC's "World News Tonight" that Trump’s tweet “angered” him.
“I mean, the president’s words were reckless and his actions were reckless,” Pence told Muir in an excerpt of the interview released Sunday. He added, “The president’s words that day at the rally endangered me and my family and everyone at the Capitol building,” according to ABC News.
Pence was overseeing the certification of the 2020 Electoral College results in Congress on Jan. 6 when a large crowd of Trump's supporters overran the Capitol's security, assaulting police officers and vandalized the building, prompting Pence and other lawmakers to go into lockdown.
Trump told rioters to leave the building only hours after the riot began — well after criticizing Pence, who had resisted Trump's pressure campaign to overturn the election, for failing to block the certification of the Electoral College votes. In his tweet that afternoon, Trump said Pence "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution."
In the interview, Pence said that after Trump's tweet, "I turned to my daughter, who was standing nearby, and I said, 'It doesn’t take courage to break the law. It takes courage to uphold the law.'"
Pence is promoting his memoir, "So Help Me God," being released Tuesday. In his time out of office, Pence has continued to praise the policies of the Trump administration but has broken repeatedly with Trump over Jan. 6, calling it “a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol,” and saying in reference to Trump, "I don't know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day."
Pence has also said he’s “proud” of what he did on Jan. 6 and has declared there’s “almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”