Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Over the weekend, former Vice President Mike Pence, who many believe is poised to enter the 2024 presidential race, had harsh words for his former boss.
Speaking at the Gridiron Dinner, an annual event sponsored by the Gridiron Club, a journalistic organization based in Washington, D.C., Pence blamed former President Donald Trump for the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and for endangering his family.
“Make no mistake about it, what happened that day was a disgrace,” Pence said. “And it mocks decency to portray it any other way.”
Trump famously wanted Pence to delay or refuse to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. When Pence denied the request, it fractured the once-close relationship between the two.
Saturday, Pence, who has been criticized heavily by Trump, accused the former president of riling the throngs of his supporters who assembled for a protest in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6.
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said. “I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
Pence also took full advantage of the Gridiron Dinner’s tradition of being equal parts speech and roast. He skewered Trump for being ego-driven and not as devoutly Christian as he claims.
“I read that some of those classified documents they found at Mar-a-Lago were actually stuck in the president’s Bible,” Pence said. “Which proves he had absolutely no idea they were there.”
In all likelihood, Pence’s Saturday speech was a step toward the former vice president attempting to hold Trump accountable via the ballot box. It is widely expected that Pence will eventually declare himself a candidate for the 2024 Republican primary.
Beyond using the speech to make remarks that differentiate him from Trump, he also made statements likely to land well with conservatives.
He received criticism from the left for poking fun at Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who Pence joked was “the only person in human history to have a child and everyone else gets postpartum depression.”
The context of the quote was a reference to Buttigieg taking paternity leave after he and his husband adopted a child, then refusing to end that leave early to assist with a supply-chain crisis.
Pence’s remarks are the latest, and certainly the harshest, in a growing wave of Trump criticisms from within the Republican Party.
While Trump remains popular in conservative circles, more Republicans are showing a willingness to side with Trump critics.
Texas Republican Congressman Mike McCaul, appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program, made such a move on Sunday by virtue of defending Pence’s Saturday statements and actions on Jan. 6.
“Vice President Pence exercised moral clarity and judgment that day,” McCaul said. “It was a dark day, and I think history will judge everyone by what they did that day.”
He added that he believes Pence “avoided a major constitutional crisis that day.”
“As you know, I voted for certification, that is our constitutional role. Not to overturn state-certified ballots,” McCaul added.
McCaul was also critical of video, released by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), that shows moments on Jan. 6 when people eventually arrested for rioting were behaving peacefully inside the U.S. Capitol.
The Texas congressman said the footage, which was leaked to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, provided an incomplete picture of what occurred.
“All the footage is not going to be tourism at the Capitol,” McCaul said on CBS. “It’s gonna show a very dark, tragic day that I witnessed first-hand.”
McCarthy stated over the weekend that he plans to slowly release the footage to all media outlets in an effort to increase transparency.