Among the most notable revelations from Thursday’s Jan. 6 committee hearing was the extent to which Donald Trump put his own vice president in danger. The former president not only lobbied Mike Pence to participate in an illegal scheme to overturn the election, Trump made matters dramatically worse the day the election results were certified.
During the Republican’s pre-riot rally, for example, Trump added unscripted comments about the then-vice president’s reluctance to show “courage.” Soon after, during the violence at the Capitol, the then-president had an opportunity to urge the insurrectionists to end their assault. Instead, Trump published a tweet again insisting that Pence lacked the “courage” to overturn the election.
It was extraordinary on Thursday to see evidence that Trump seemed to deliberately put his vice president in harm’s way. A day later, the Republican thought it’d be a good idea to talk publicly — about his efforts to pressure Pence to participate in an illegal scheme to overturn the election. The New York Times reported:
A day after the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault illustrated the serious danger that rioters posed to Mike Pence, former President Donald J. Trump unleashed a new attack on the man who had served him as vice president, criticizing him for refusing to interfere with the Electoral College certification of the 2020 presidential contest.
It was striking to see just how little the former president’s rhetoric has changed. During the Jan. 6 riot, Trump said Pence lacked the “courage” to ignore the law. During his Friday remarks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual Road to Majority conference, the Republican again said, “Mike did not have the courage to act.”
It was fresh evidence that the former president is unfamiliar with the concept of shame.
Indeed, watching the speech, it was as if Trump had somehow been locked in time, unaware of the revelations the rest of us learned. One day earlier, for example, during a Jan. 6 committee hearing, a lawyer for Pence explained that officials easily dismissed the nonsensical claims about Thomas Jefferson pursuing a related scheme two centuries ago. On Friday, the president echoed the absurdity anyway.
Mr. Trump also mischaracterized the 1801 certification of Thomas Jefferson’s presidential victory — a process that Jefferson, then the vice president, oversaw — to argue that Mr. Pence should have used that model to keep Mr. Trump in office.
As for whether or not it was wise for the former president to publicly rail against the former vice president the day after a devastating public hearing, lawyer George Conway added on Friday, “I’m so glad he doesn’t know that he has the right to remain silent and that anything he says can and will be used against him in a court of law.”
The House Jan. 6 committee is holding its fourth public hearing on Tuesday, June 21 at 1 p.m. ET. Get expert analysis in real-time on our liveblog at msnbc.com/jan6hearings.