Trump and Pence speak for first time since Capitol riots
President Trump and Vice President Pence met in the Oval Office on Monday, marking the first time they have spoken since a mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol on Wednesday during the certification of the 2020 electoral votes, forcing Pence and others in the building to be evacuated or taken to secure locations.
“The two had a good conversation, discussing the week ahead and reflecting on the last four years of the administration’s work and accomplishments,” a senior administration official said.
The men agreed that those who broke the law and stormed the Capitol last Wednesday “do not represent the America first movement backed by 75 million Americans.”
Pence and Trump went several days without speaking as the president fumed that the vice president had not illegally intervened in the electoral certification to reject electors for President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump, who has yet to formally concede the election or acknowledge that his defeat to Biden was legitimate, insisted for days that Pence had the power to reject electors for Biden during the congressional certification process. But the vice president’s role in those proceedings is mostly ceremonial, and Pence informed Trump last Tuesday that he did not believe he had the authority to intervene.
Still, Trump pressured the vice president to act outside the law, telling supporters at a rally last Wednesday that Pence “is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution.”
A short time after that, Pence released a letter stating that he and his advisers had determined he did not have the authority to unilaterally reject electors or determine the outcome of the election.
Within hours, a pro-Trump mob had breached the Capitol complex, and Pence and other lawmakers in the building were whisked away to safety.
Trump’s first tweet commenting on the mayhem was an attack on his own vice president, complaining that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”
Rioters reportedly threatened Pence and hoped to seek him out. The vice president was taken to a secure location before he and other lawmakers returned later Wednesday evening to complete the certification process.
More than 100 individuals have been arrested in connection with the Capitol riots, including one man who was spotted carrying zip ties around the building and another who entered Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office.
Multiple current and former White House officials have described widespread frustration over the way Trump snapped at Pence.
Some Trump allies have come to the vice president’s defense since Wednesday’s riot. Most notably, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, a longtime Trump aide, called Pence “a genuinely fine and decent man.”
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