Former president Donald Trump said he considered it “common sense” for his supporters to chant “Hang Mike Pence!” during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Audio of Trump’s comments to ABC News’s Jonathan Karl were published Friday by Axios in advance of a forthcoming book by Karl.
In the exchange, Trump again took issue with Pence for not intervening to change the results as he presided over the count of electoral college votes by Congress.
The count was ultimately interrupted after rioters breached the Capitol and Pence was whisked out of the chamber amid threats on his life.
Asked by Karl if he was worried about Pence’s safety, Trump said: “No, I thought he was well-protected.”
“I had heard that he was in good shape,” Trump said. “I had heard he was in very good shape.”
After Karl pointed out that protesters were chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” Trump defended the chant as he repeated his baseless claims that he election result was fraudulent.
“Because it’s common sense, Jon,” Trump said. “It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?”
In the interview, Trump made clear that he wanted Pence to invalidate the electoral college votes of five states in which Joe Biden had prevailed.
The attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob determined to stop the affirmation of Biden’s win resulted in the death of five people and injuries to some 140 members of law enforcement who were struck with flagpoles, batons, baseball bats and pipes.
Trump that day spoke to a group of supporters who later stormed the Capitol building in an attempted insurrection.
“Mike Pence, I hope you get to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country, and if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you,” Trump said.
Instead, Pence released a lengthy statement breaking with Trump, just moments ahead of a joint session of Congress to ratify the electoral vote.
“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” the statement read.
As Pence’s statement was released, the vice president and congressional lawmakers began to gather in the House of Representatives chamber to begin the counting of Electoral College votes.
Roughly an hour into the process, Trump’s supporters outside — spurred by Trump’s calls to “stay strong” — had overpowered police and forced their way into the building.
The Justice Department says 675 people have been arrested and 210 have been charged with assaulting, impeding or resisting officers.
Had the legal electoral vote stopped, Trump’s coup attempt could have placed him in power indefinitely.