According to Pence, if invited to appear before the House Jan. 6 committee, he would consider testifying, but he would have to resolve thorny constitutional issues first. Pence said he’d give it full consideration if any formal invitation were extended to him. He was answering a question at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics “Politics & Eggs” series.
The House committee’s spokeswoman declined to comment on whether it plans to ask Pence to appear. A recent interview with NBC News revealed that Pence and former President Donald Trump are on the agenda for the committee’s meeting.
If he goes through with it, Pence would be an invaluable witness to Trump’s efforts to retain power after November 2020. During the summer hearings, the committee presented evidence that Pence had been subjected to Trump’s persistent subversion of the public will. To stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, Trump prevailed on his second in command to use his ceremonial role in the Electoral College vote count. Their political partnership was severed when Pence refused.
Pence mentioned a caveat that might deter him from testifying during his remarks. He said that a vice president being summoned to testify on Capitol Hill would be unprecedented in history. However, he did not want to prejudge. Several presidents and vice presidents have testified before Congress, including Gerald Ford’s 1974 testimony on his decision to pardon Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal.
In the hours before rioters ransacked the Capitol building and threatened Pence’s life, Pence could explain what he told Trump during a tense phone call. Trump’s aides were present when Pence took the call, but he left the room before they could hear what he said or how he responded.
Pence also came closer to confirming that he plans to run for president in 2024 through a speech and question-and-answer session that lasted about an hour.
The former Vice President has made numerous appearances in states holding early presidential contests, giving what amounts to a stump speech that attacks Biden and presents his conservative vision of government. While he avoids direct criticism of Trump, he implies that the ex-president needs to drop his claims that the 2020 election was stolen. He tends to focus on former Republican President Ronald Reagan. It’s more important than ever for party leaders to focus on the challenges facing Americans today and offer positive solutions for the future.
He even poked fun at Trump’s enthusiasm for large political rallies. Despite his implied criticism of Trump, he echoed the GOP’s outcry over the FBI’s search at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to disclose the search’s purpose. There has never been a search warrant issued for a former president’s personal residence in American history, he added. The FBI raid should be explained to the American people, and transparency is necessary for this unprecedented action.
He treads a line that might be impossible to maintain throughout a presidential campaign by neither condemning nor praising Trump outright. A member of the audience privately complained that Pence said virtually nothing about the question on “everyone’s mind”: what happened to him on the day when the U.S. almost lost its democracy.
Tom Rath, a former Republican National Committee member from New Hampshire who attended Pence’s speech, said his message is “a work in progress.” Rath stated that Pence was trying to create space and take advantage of that space and not engender a massive pushback from the Trump forces.