Trump on Wednesday unleashed his followers on Pence, accusing his vice president of failing to support him in his bid to overthrow the election.
A mob of MAGA-hatted rioters stormed the Capitol and roamed the corridors calling for Pence to hang. A gallows was even set up outside Congress.
One high-profile Trump supporter, attorney Lin Wood, praised by Trump for doing ‘good work’ on election fraud, called for Pence to face the firing squad.
Yet on Monday evening Pence, who reportedly did not speak to Trump during or after the insurrection, was at the White House for a meeting described by aides as cordial.
CNN reported that Pence and his aides wanted to show that the country was not in total disarray.
‘Need to telegraph to our allies and adversaries that we have a fully functioning government,’ the source said.
Mike Pence, pictured with Trump in the Oval Office in September, met the president Monday
John Roberts, Fox News’ White House correspondent, tweeted a summary of the meeting
Fox News’ White House correspondent, John Roberts, reported that a senior administration official said: ‘The two had a good conversation, discussing the week ahead and reflecting on the last four years of the administration’s work and accomplishments.’
The official said that the two men united in their contempt for the rioters, disowning those who stormed the Capitol.
‘They reiterated that those who broke the law and stormed the Capitol last week do not represent the America First movement backed by 75 million Americans, and pledged to continue the work on behalf of the country for the remainder of their term.’
Pence, once known for his loyalty and subservience to the president, angered Trump both with his refusal to overturn the election, and with his announcement that he will attend Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration. Trump has confirmed he will not be there.
Pence, a devout Christian, infuriated Trump with his position on the election, and Trump tried repeatedly to change his mind.
‘Do the courageous thing, Mike,’ Trump said in one meeting, The Washington Post reported.
‘It will be bad for you and for the country if you don’t,’ Trump said at another time, according to an official describing the meeting.
Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, began readying for an inevitable clash between the two men, a person who talked to him told the paper, and never considered that Pence could please the president.
Trump was attempting to convince Pence right until Wednesday morning, it was reported.
‘The president could say, ‘Mike I want you to go fly to Asia,’ and he would do it, or ‘Mike, I want you take over the coronavirus task force,’ and he would do it, never questioned a thing,’ said the former official.
‘Pence would spend hours in the Oval. Pence would come in, he’d get his daily brief and then he’d get word of when the president would be coming into the Oval and then he’d go over there and they’d spend hours together.
‘For them to not speak anymore is a paradigm I just never would have imagined.’
The meeting, however, appeared to suggest that the pair were attempting to patch things up, and that Pence was not going to press ahead with the 25th Amendment.
On Sunday it was reported that he had not yet made up his mind, although it was ‘unlikely’ he would press to remove the president.
On Monday, before their meeting, Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats pressed ahead with the articles of impeachment.
Impeachment is scheduled for consideration at 9am Wednesday, if Trump refuses to resign and Pence won’t initiate other procedures to remove him.
The impeachment effort itself will dominate the final week of Trump’s presidency, and is almost certain to come to a historic result: the first time in history a president has been impeached twice.
After the House vote, the articles are expected to move immediately to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated a trial, presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, likely won’t start until the upper chamber returns on January 19.
Trump can still be impeached after he has left office.
Trump on Wednesday told his followers to ‘fight’ to ‘persuade’ Pence to block Biden’s election
A mass of Trump supporters left his rally on Wednesday and headed straight for the Capitol
Trump supporters scaled the walls of the Capitol and broke in, for the first time since 1814
Congress staffers barricade themselves after Trump supporters stormed inside the US Capitol
The vice-president, pictured on Thursday, enraged the president and his supporters by refusing Trump’s demand that Pence halt the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory
Pence could certainly be forgiven for having little inclination to save Trump from the 25th Amendment.
While Pence was sheltering from the mob on Wednesday, Trump, at 2:24pm, tweeted: ‘Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!’
Trump was watching the storming of the Capitol live on television, and left it to Pence to call up the National Guard and secure the building, according to multiple reports. Trump on Sunday took credit for summoning the reinforcements.
McConnell was evacuated from the Capitol, but praised Pence for his actions.
‘Although the Vice President and I were not together during the evacuation, he personally got very involved and stayed in close contact with me as we worked to secure urgently needed resources to thwart the mob and I appreciate those efforts greatly,’ McConnell said in a statement to The Washington Post.
McConnell told others he was enraged with Trump and planned to never speak to him again.
Pence skipped his speech to the Republican National Committee meeting, scheduled for the next day, and did not come to the White House.
He returned on Friday.
White House aides have been shocked and saddened by Trump’s turning on Pence, The Washington Post reported.
One senior administration official described it as ‘unconscionable, even for the president.’
‘We’re very lucky that Mike Pence is a decent guy and rational and levelheaded,’ said Joe Grogan, the former head of the Domestic Policy Council under Trump.
He told the paper: ‘If he had been replaced by someone as nuts as the people who have been surrounding the president as the primary advice givers for the last few months, we could have had even more of a bloodbath.
‘Imagine what would have happened if Pence was devious and vile and didn’t stand up for the Constitution.’
Twitter has been forced to step in and stop ‘Hang Mike Pence’ trending in the wake of the MAGA mob riot where Donald Trump supporters called for the Vice President’s execution and strung up a noose outside the Capitol
Trump on Sunday claimed that he, not Pence, had called up the National Guard
The social media giant permanently banned Trump on Friday night, citing risks of ‘further incitement to violence’.
A screenshot shows that of 1.26am, over 14,400 Twitter users had used the phrase.
Twitter confirmed in a statement to Newsweek that it had moved to block the phrase because it violated rules on trending subjects.
‘We blocked the phrase and other variations of it from trending. We want trends to promote healthy discussions on Twitter. This means that at times, we may prevent certain content from trending,’ a spokesperson said.
‘As per our Help Center, there are Rules for trends – if we identify accounts that violate these rules, we’ll take enforcement action.’
The phrase was no longer trending later in the day and it does not appear on the Twitter Trending USA site, which tracks trending topics.
On Twitter’s Help Center, it has a rule to prevent violent threats against individuals as well as the glorification of violence.
The threatening phrase surfaced online in the wake of Wednesday’s riot where Trump supporters – among them white supremacists, QAnon fanatics and Proud Boys – violently broke into the Capitol building in an attack that left five people dead.
Horrifying footage from the scene of the siege shows a mob chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’ as they stormed the building.
A Reuters’ photographer covering the riot also claimed he heard at least three Trump supporters speak about hanging the Vice President from a tree as a ‘traitor’.
Jim Bourg, the Reuters News Pictures Editor in DC, tweeted Friday that he heard ‘many more’ speak about executing Pence as they stormed the Capitol and tried to hunt him down.
‘I heard at least 3 different rioters at the Capitol say that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor,’ Bourg said.