Pence Makes Absurd Claim: Trump Was ‘Genuinely Remorseful’ After Jan. 6

2022 New York Times DealBook - Credit: Getty Images for The New York Times
2022 New York Times DealBook - Credit: Getty Images for The New York Times

Former vice president Mike Pence claimed that Donald Trump showed “genuine remorse” when the two met five days after the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Yes, you read that correctly. The man for whom Trump supporters constructed a gallows somehow believes the former president harbors regret regarding that day.

While promoting his new book, Pence appeared on Fox News Sunday and discussed the events surrounding the insurrection. “The president and I clashed in the days leading up to January 6. I’ll always believe that I did my duty that day, by God’s grace, under the Constitution, and upheld the peaceful transfer of power. But I was angry. I was angry about our difference that day, and I was also angry at what I saw,” Pence said.

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“There’s probably no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose who the winner of a presidential election is,” Pence added.

Although Pence was critical of Trump, he also found ways to let him off the hook. Speaking of his private meeting with Trump five days after Jan. 6, Pence said, “I walked into that back room and the president looked up at me and I sensed he was deeply remorseful about what had happened.”

When Trump asked how his family was, Pence said that he “responded sternly,” saying, “They’re fine, Mr. President.” Two of Pence’s family members — his wife and daughter — were present at the Capitol the day of the attack and sought cover with him when Trump’s supporters stormed the building.

“The president lamented what had happened,” Pence continued. “He said what if we hadn’t had the rally. It’s so terrible to end like this.”

But in rally speeches this year, Trump has bragged about the rally and claimed it was a “lovefest,” a “beautiful thing,” and “the largest crowd I’ve ever seen.”

Pence has previously said that Trump was “greatly disappointed” in him for his actions to certify the electoral votes on Jan. 6. So this claim that Trump somehow displayed “genuine remorse” for the events of that day rings particularly hollow. From what Trump has said since then — and judging by his recently expressed desire to “terminat[e]” the Constitution so he can be declared the winner of the 2020 election — his only Jan. 6 regret is that Congress certified Biden’s victory and did not install Trump as dictator.

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