The Slatest

Watch GOP Sen. Barrasso Talk in Circles to Avoid Condemning Trump Over Pence Remarks

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) speaks alongside other Republican Senators during a news conference on rising gas an energy prices at the U.S. Capitol on October 27, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) speaks alongside other Republican Senators during a news conference on rising gas an energy prices at the U.S. Capitol on October 27, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

During an interview on Sunday, Sen. John Barrasso made clear that he was not going to even lightly criticize former President Donald Trump for his apparent defense of the Jan. 6 rioters and their threats of violence against then-Vice President Mike Pence. Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Barrasso repeatedly refused to criticize Trump for saying it was “common sense” for rioters to chant “hang Mike Pence.” After much insistence from host George Stephanopoulos, Barrasso said “it’s not common sense” for people to chant “hang Mike Pence” but that’s as far as he went. “I don’t agree with President Trump on everything,” the Wyoming Republican said.

Advertisement

During the interview, Stephanopoulos played the comments Trump made in an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl in which he said he wasn’t worried about his vice president’s safety despite the threats of violence. “The people were very angry,” Trump told Karl. The journalist noted that the rioters were chanting, “Hang Mike Pence.” Trump replied that “it’s common sense … if you know a vote is fraudulent, right, how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?” Stephanopoulos wondered how the Republican Party can “tolerate a leader who defends murderous chants against his own vice president?” Barrasso avoided answering the question and only said that the “Republican Party is incredibly united right now” and claimed Trump “brings a lot of energy to the party” and is “an enduring force.” Barrasso said Republicans were mostly focused on opposing President Joe Biden and his policies. “Elections are about the future, not the past,” Barrasso said.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Stephanopoulos continued pressing the issue and wondered whether the senator had no problem with the president’s remarks. Barrasso again danced around the question, saying he believed Pence was safe the entire time and he didn’t hear the chants. Stephanopoulos insisted, and asked Barrasso specifically if he could tolerate the president’s remarks. It was at that point that the senator said the chant was not “common sense.” Stephanopoulos then directly asked Barrasso if he would not criticize Trump for the views. “I don’t agree with President Trump on everything,” he said. “I agree with him on the policies that have brought us the best economy in my lifetime, and I’m going to continue to support those policies.”

Advertisement