Trump Says Rioters Wanting to Kill Mike Pence on Jan. 6 Was “Common Sense”

The Trumps, wearing coats, stand with their hands over their hearts.
Melania and Donald Trump at the World Series in Atlanta on Oct. 30. Elsa/Getty Images

Donald Trump was banned from the major social media services after the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. On that day, instead of de-escalating the situation, he used Twitter to denounce then Vice President Mike Pence because Pence, in his capacity presiding over the Senate, had refused to overturn election results. Some of Trump’s supporters, while they were breaching Capitol security, chanted “Hang Mike Pence.” It was a loud and sustained chant, and not just one or two people—you can see a video here. One eventually found Pence’s seat on the Senate dais and left a note reading, “It’s only a matter of time, justice is ­coming.” (According to the Washington Post, this person later told law enforcement that Pence is a “child-trafficking traitor.”)


There’s been some speculation that Trump’s ban from Twitter, etc., has helped Republicans gain back popular support of the sort that helped them win Virginia’s gubernatorial election this month. It’s a sound theory, because many swing voters are put off by Trump and were alarmed by the Capitol riot, and because when Trump is given a platform, he tends to do things like this:

Trump: No, I thought he was well protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, but, no, I think—

Karl: Because you heard those chants—that was terrible. I mean—

Trump: He could have—well, the people were very angry.

Karl: They were saying “hang Mike Pence.”

Trump: Because it’s common sense, Jon. It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you—if you know a vote is fraudulent, right?—how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?

That’s Trump speaking to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, via Axios, which also has audio of the exchange. Karl has a book out next week called Betrayal, which, judging by the title, is either a behind-the-scenes account of the 2020 election and its aftermath or an erotic tale of obsession and revenge. Trump’s next project, meanwhile, is trying to become president again, which is probably not going to be helped by statements like this. Probably.