Nearly nine months after the Jan. 6 attack, former Vice President Mike Pence has had plenty of time to reflect on the insurrectionist violence, and as the HuffPost noted overnight, the Indiana Republican has arrived at some strange ideas.
Critics pounded former Vice President Mike Pence's claim on Monday that continued media reporting on the Jan. 6 insurrection was aimed at demeaning supporters of ex-President Donald Trump. Pence, appearing on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, suggested news outlets' ongoing focus on the deadly U.S. Capitol riot by a mob of Trump fans was solely an attempt to "distract from the Biden administration's failed agenda."
The former vice president added, "They want to use that one day to try and demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans who believed we could be strong again and prosperous again, and supported our administration in 2016 and 2020."
So let me see if I have this straight. Media professionals and news organizations don't really want to report on developments related to Jan. 6 — the prosecution of rioters, the ongoing bipartisan investigation in Congress, etc. — but journalists are covering the story anyway. Why? Because we're conspiring to cause a distraction for the White House, while simultaneously trying to make Donald Trump's supporters look bad.
Right off the bat, let's note that Pence's conspiracy theory is quite nutty, even by 2021 standards. News organizations cover developments related to Jan. 6 because there's important news about an important event. As he really ought to know, there's no need for secret partisan motivations.
What's more, the former vice president — who was hunted by the rioters, and who had to flee for his own safety during the attack on the Capitol — has been the source of some of this news. For example, Pence delivered remarks in early June in which he described Jan. 6 as "a dark day" in which law enforcement ultimately secured the Capitol and "we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States."
Later in the month, the former vice president said he was "proud" of what he did on Jan. 6 and added that there's "almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president." Are we to believe Pence made these comments as part of a pro-Biden scheme to "distract" the public?
Finally, let's also not overlook recent revelations that ahead of Jan. 6, the then-vice president actively explored alternatives to the rule of law and our constitutional system. Indeed, the latest reporting suggests Pence didn't want to fulfill his legal obligations, but he couldn't find a credible way to do the wrong thing.
If Pence wanted to explain his decisions and motivations, the public discourse would probably benefit. But the former vice president — perhaps eager to curry favor with extremists who threatened to hang him nine months ago — is instead peddling silly ideas on Fox News.
If the Republican is counting on such efforts to propel his career, he's likely to be disappointed.