Newly released audio reveals that former President Donald Trump defended rioters who chanted “Hang Mike Pence” during the January 6th insurrection.
The subject came up over the course of a 90-minute interview with ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl. The interview took place on March 18 in Mar-a-lago for Karl’s new book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show”.
In the audio, Karl asks Trump if he was worried about Mike Pence’s safety during the riot. Trump says no, adding that he believed Pence was “well-protected” and in “very good shape”. Karl brings up the chants, to which Trump replies: “Well, the people were very angry.”
“They were saying ‘hang Mike Pence,” says Karl.
When I interviewed Trump for "Betrayal" and asked him about his supporters chanting "Hang Mike Pence", he didn't co… https://t.co/NeLKzUe4Rn
“Because it’s common sense, Jon,” Trump swiftly replies. “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?”
“And I’m telling you: 50/50, it’s right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them. Anybody I spoke to — almost all of them at least pretty much agree, and some very much agree with me — because he’s passing on a vote that he knows is fraudulent. How can you pass a vote that you know is fraudulent?” Trump repeats.
The former president goes on to say that he spoke to Pence about all of the “fraudulent things” that happened during the election, but that he didn’t talk about the “main point.”
“The legislatures did not approve all of those changes that made the difference between a very easy win for me in the states, or a loss that was very close, because the losses were all very close,” he says.
Karl posted the audio to Twitter, writing: “When I interviewed Trump for “Betrayal” and asked him about his supporters chanting “Hang Mike Pence”, he didn’t condemn them, he defended them.”