Pence is of course right. The violent insurgency on the United States Capitol, which left more than 100 police officers injured and five dead, was a cataclysm like American democracy has rarely seen.
And Pence, as vice president that day, had no role other than a ceremonial role – to oversee the formal certification of the electoral vote count that showed Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
None of these facts, however, will protect him from the wrath of Donald Trump and the base the former president commands.
Pence seems to put himself in the first category on purpose. Which is a very interesting bet given that there is, to date, no evidence that Republicans who break with Trump on January 6 have any political future within the Party.
* 53% of Republicans in the poll said Donald Trump was the “real” president, while 47% said Joe Biden, who is the current president.
* Another 56% of Republicans say the 2020 election results are “the result of an illegal vote or election rigging.”
* More than 6 in 10 GOPers either “strongly” (39%) or “somewhat” (22%) agree that the 2020 election “was stolen from Donald Trump.”
Grassroots voters tend to have a say in the choice of presidential candidate. And rank-and-file Republican voters – at least to this day – believe Trump had the election stolen. And Trump, with the willful complicity of many Republican leaders in Congress, is trying to rewrite what happened on January 6.
Pence does not read this script. Which, in its own way, is admirable. But unless the Republican Party’s take on Trump changes dramatically by 2024 (still possible!), Pence’s position on Jan.6 may well disqualify him from serious consideration by Republican primary voters.
What a world.
CORRECTION: This analysis has been updated to correct Pence’s quote on the number of times he has spoken with Trump since they left office.
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