Just A Mile From Where Trump’s Mob Wanted To Hang Him, Pence Fails To Mention His Coup

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WASHINGTON ― Just 1,500 feet from the spot where Donald Trump incited his coup attempt, and barely a mile from where the former president’s mob wanted to hang him, Mike Pence chose not to mention any of that during a half-hour speech Tuesday to a gathering of conservative college students.

The former vice president mentioned Trump only a few times in his remarks, always in the context of what he called the conservative accomplishments of the “Trump-Pence” administration. He specifically cited Jan. 6, 2021, only once, as just one of a series of unfortunate events that had befallen the United States over the past few years.

“Global pandemic. Civil unrest. Divisive election. A tragic day in our nation’s capital, and a Democrat administration seemingly intent on weakening America at home and abroad,” he said.

Pence, who is almost certain to run for president in 2024, did use the euphemistic language employed by many in his party who would prefer someone other than Trump as their nominee.

“Now some people may choose to focus on the past. But elections are about the future,” Pence said, alluding to Trump’s endless lies that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. “Conservatives must focus on the future to win back America.”

Pence for the most part hit the standard themes that Republicans have been using to attack President Joe Biden and Democrats generally ahead of this autumn’s midterm election: border security, gas prices, inflation, standing up to China, women’s sports and opposing so-called critical race theory.

When asked about Pence’s failure to mention the coup attempt, a Pence aide, on condition of anonymity, hit another favorite Republican message: attacking the news media.

“While the out-of-touch media focuses on the past and attempts to inject Jan. 6 into every conversation, Americans are fretting how they are going to pay their next bill or fill up their gas tank,” the aide told HuffPost. “Mike Pence is focused on the future and electing conservative leaders who will help solve these problems and restore safety, security and prosperity in the United States.”

Pence was speaking to several hundred students attending the Young America’s Foundation conference at the JW Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is located a quarter mile from the Ellipse park where Trump staged his pre-insurrection rally on Jan. 6 ― and just over a mile from the Capitol, where Pence, his staff and his family had to go into hiding for hours that day to avoid Trump’s mob.

The hotel is also less than a mile from the Marriott Marquis hotel where Trump is set to speak later on Tuesday, in his first visit to the nation’s capital since leaving office on Jan. 20, 2021.

For weeks following the 2020 election, Pence resisted Trump’s efforts to pressure him into simply declaring Trump the winner during the Jan. 6 congressional certification ceremony. Trump tried again to pressure Pence in a final phone call that morning, just before he headed to the Ellipse. There, Trump peppered his prepared speech with numerous ad-libbed false claims that Pence had the ability to declare him the winner. He also added several exhortations for his followers to march on the Capitol and fight for him.

After Pence released a letter explaining that he had no such authority, Trump responded with a post to his Twitter account claiming that Pence had lacked the “courage” to overturn the election for him, which served to enrage his followers further.

During the Jan. 6 committee hearings, testimony revealed that Trump agreed with the mob that was chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” as they roamed the Capitol building looking for him, and that Trump refused for hours to tell his followers to stop their attack and to go home.

Trump, despite losing the election by 7 million votes nationally and 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first U.S. president in more than two centuries of elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His incitement of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol ― his last-ditch attempt to remain in office ― killed five people, including one police officer; injured another 140 officers; and led to four police suicides.

Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly speaking about running for the presidency again in 2024.

In statements on his personal social media platform, Trump has continued to lie about the election and the work of the Jan. 6 committee, calling it a “hoax” similar to previous investigations into his 2016 campaign’s acceptance of Russian assistance and his attempt to extort Ukraine into helping his 2020 campaign.

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