In an unexpected turn of events on Sunday’s “State of the Union”, former Vice President Mike Pence danced around the idea that Donald Trump’s actions during the infamous January 6 attack on the Capitol were anything but kosher.
Although conceding that Trump’s actions were “reckless”, Pence seemed to shrug off their potential criminality. It’s a curious position for someone who was essentially on the run from a mob chanting “Hang Pence” not so long ago. Pence stated he wasn’t “yet convinced” of the criminal nature of Trump’s words and actions on that day, hinting at a continued hesitancy to outright condemn his former boss.
One might think being a direct target of a violent mob incited by the president’s words might solidify a stance. However, Pence kept his cards close to his chest, stating that he “honestly” didn’t know what Trump’s intentions were that fateful day, yet optimistically added that he believed “history will hold him accountable.”
So, will history hold Trump accountable? It appears that Special Counsel Jack Smith might beat history to the punch. Earlier this week, news surfaced that Trump had been notified of being a target in Smith’s investigation into the ex-president’s alleged attempts to upend the 2020 election results.
Receiving such a letter typically suggests that prosecutors are on the verge of seeking an indictment. If the information is accurate, Trump could soon be facing his third criminal indictment since he stepped out of office.
Adding to the pile, Trump is already indicted for alleged violations of the Espionage Act. This stems from his purported retention of highly classified White House documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort. In addition, he’s been charged in New York for allegedly fudging business records to cover up hush-money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Further south, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is mulling over whether to charge Trump and his associates over their attempts to meddle with the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Yet, in the face of all these mounting allegations, Pence, the man who had to flee for his life on January 6, seems to be sidestepping the critical question: Was Trump’s conduct on that day criminal? Even as Trump questioned Pence’s “courage” amidst the riotous rampage, Pence certified the 2020 election results, effectively putting country before party.
However, his recent interview suggests a different kind of courage is missing. The courage to call out a bully whose actions might have led to dire consequences for him and the country. A bully he continues to avoid condemning. The question remains: when will Mike Pence, and the GOP at large, stop dodging the elephant in the room?