Former President Donald Trump said that maybe his vice president should be executed after protesters at the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” according to witnesses who spoke to the House committee probing the attack.
The New York Times reports that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows left the dining room off the Oval Office and told colleagues in his own office that Mr. Trump was complaining about Mr. Pence being whisked to safety during the Capitol attack — and then made the hanging remark.
It was unclear what kind of tone Mr. Trump deployed but the account was given to the House committee by at least one witness, the newspaper reported.
The committee confirmed the account with another witness, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mr. Meadows who was present for the chief of staff’s account.
The new reporting underscores the rift between Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence that erupted after the former vice president refused to block the certification of Electoral College votes that handed the 2020 contest to President Biden.
Mr. Trump leaned on Mr. Pence to return the process to the states despite being told the vice president didn’t have that power.
“We are going to have to fight much harder. And Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a sad day for our country. Because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution,” Mr. Trump said in a speech on the Ellipse near the White House shortly before the Capitol attack.
Protesters constructed mock gallows on Capitol grounds and chanted about hanging the vice president, who was taken to an underground garage as lawmakers were escorted from the Capitol’s chambers and as Capitol Police wrangled with Trump supporters who breached the building.
The deepening chasm between the two men was on full display in Georgia this week.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, back by Mr. Pence, easily won a GOP gubernatorial primary over Trump-backed challenger David Perdue, a former U.S. senator.
The Times report circulated widely on social media, adding fuel to the fire.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich blasted the Jan. 6 committee over its repeated leaks.
“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 told the Times. “Americans are tired of the Democrat lies and the charades, but, sadly, it’s the only thing they have to offer.”
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.
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