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Gingrich praises Pence: 'A weaker person might have buckled' under Trump pressure

Former House Speaker Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE applauded Vice President Pence on Thursday after the vice president did not attempt to overturn the election results during a congressional meeting. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE had previously publicly pressured Pence to overturn the Electoral College vote that broke for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE in November.

On Wednesday, Pence was poised to preside over the congressional proceedings to certify the 2020 Electoral College results, a role that is largely ceremonial. 

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In an op-ed published by Fox News, Gingrich commended Pence for his willingness to stand up to Trump and his handling of the attacks on the Capitol Wednesday. 

“[T]he real prize for courage yesterday went to Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceMcConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' Cheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts McConnell sidesteps Cheney-Trump drama MORE. He had been the brunt of a number of public comments from President Trump trying to push him into doing something he did not think was constitutional. A weaker person might have buckled and given in,” Gingrich wrote. 

Gingrich described Pence as a “devout family man” who knew “that no matter what the pressures were, he would end up doing what he thought was right.”

Pence has not made a public statement since a mob violently attacked the Capitol building Wednesday afternoon. Supporters of the president gathered in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress not to certify the Electoral College vote. 

Trump made a speech at a rally on the National Mall earlier in the day telling supporters that he would not concede or give up challenging the 2020 election results. Following his speech, a group of pro-Trump rioters breached Capitol security while both the House and Senate debated a GOP objection to the election results. 

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Members of Congress were forced to evacuate both chambers, and Pence was removed from the Senate. 

Wednesday’s events have prompted calls from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for Pence and Trump's Cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment and remove the president from office. 

Gingrich said he “trusted” Pence to make a decision: “He had not sworn an oath to a particular party, philosophy, or personality. I trusted him to study the issues carefully, consult widely with experts, pray deeply, and then do what he thought was his duty.”

The former speaker added that Pence’s “leadership qualities” showed after Congress reconvened Wednesday night to certify Biden as the winner. He added that Pence's statement before proceedings commenced in the Senate were “so common sense and so calming in a potentially disastrous situation." 

Gingrich condemned the violence that occurred Wednesday but said “we must go a step further and make a firm commitment to stop all the violence,” referencing demonstrations against police brutality that erupted over the summer. 

“There is a new generation of radical prosecutors who want to protect guilty criminals and sacrifice innocent victims. It must stop,” Gingrich wrote. “If we don’t get a grip on stopping this radical violence throughout our society, our shared American future will become much worse.”