Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday defended the Republican National Committee’s characterization of the U.S. Capitol riot as “legitimate political speech,” arguing that the phrase was misunderstood and did not, in fact, refer to the supporters of Donald Trump who called for him to be hanged.
Pence attempted the defense after a speech at Stanford University, in response to an audience member who asked his opinion on RNC censorship reps Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo .). Both Republicans serve on a House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol, for which their party officially censured them earlier this month.
“I think [the RNC] made a very clear statement after the fact that we were talking about what is happening in Washington today with the January 6 committee,” Pence said.
“They argued, and I believe them, that they weren’t talking about people who engaged in violence against people or property that day, they were talking about a whole range of people who were attacked by this committee.
“And I believe them, they are good people. And I think that’s what they meant.
Notably, the censorship text itself makes no such distinction because it accuses the two Republicans of “participating in a Democratic-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political speech.”
Pence also called January 6, 2021 a “tragic day” in his response.
About 140 police officers were injured when mobs stormed the Capitol that day, and so far more than 740 people have been arrested in connection with the riot incited by Trump to disrupt a session of Congress to certify the victory of the Electoral College of Joe Biden.
Pence’s Stanford event was his first high-profile appearance since addressing a meeting of the conservative Federalist Society earlier this month, where he strongly rebuked Trump’s plan to void the 2020 election. and stay in power despite his defeat.
Trump responded to the Federalist Society speech by calling Pence “an automatic treadmill for Old Crow,” i.e., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and claiming, without evidence, that “I had right and everyone knows it”.
The Huffington Gt