(March 13) Former Vice President Mike Pence should be commended for having the courage to tell the truth about former President Donald Trump’s despicable conduct related to the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot.

Especially when cherry-picked, out-of-context release of Capitol video has Trump backers again inflamed with the false narrative that the incursion wasn’t dangerous, Pence’s truth-telling comes as welcome relief.

Speaking at the Gridiron Club Dinner (a journalist-led charitable fundraiser) Saturday night, Pence eschewed the event’s traditionally light atmosphere long enough to say this: “President Trump was wrong. 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 that history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”

Then, in a barely veiled rebuke to those misusing the video footage, Pence added: “The American people have a right to know what took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6. But make no mistake about it, what happened that day was a disgrace, and it mocks decency to portray it in any other way.”

On the latter point, he is absolutely right. After the hugely violent actions through which the mob forced its way into the Capitol, it is no exoneration for any particular rioter to see Capitol Police walking “peacefully” beside him. Indeed, with officers trained in deescalation tactics, the very fact that one intruder attracted specific attention for an “escort” could easily be as damning about his behavior as it is exculpatory.

We know what happened that day: A violent mob, tacitly encouraged by Trump, overran and often beat up Capitol Police while smashing windows to enter the Capitol. More than 140 officers were injured, some of them quite badly. The rioters’ goal was to stop a sacred civic ceremony from occurring and thereby help overturn a valid election. A large number of them were yelling for the execution of Pence and of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi…. [The full column is here.]


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