Speed Reads

'don't bother'

Pence discusses Jan. 6 in excerpt from new memoir

In an excerpt from his forthcoming memoir So Help Me God, former Vice President Mike Pence recounts the build-up and aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, as well as the trajectory of the false claim that he could overturn the results of the election (though he does indicate his support for "legitimate challenges" to the contest).

In the section shared Tuesday with The Wall Street Journal, Pence begins by recounting when Trump first suggested challenging President Biden's win, and when "speculation" about his role in presiding over the race's results first began. At this point, Pence points to an ad from The Lincoln Project as having put the idea that the VP could overturn the election into Trump's head. 

Pence then touches on the dubious legal guidance he received from lawyer John Eastman, and says Trump told him "hundreds of thousands are gonna hate your guts" if he didn't push for the authority to return electoral votes. During the actual riot on Jan. 6, Pence claims he fought with the Secret Service to stay at his post, rather than give rioters "the sight of a 16-car motorcade speeding away from the Capitol." He was eventually returned to safety, and the election results were certified.

On Jan. 11, Pence met with Trump. When Pence told Trump he'd always pray for him, despite their disagreements, Trump first replied, "Don't bother," before later telling Pence: "That's right — don't ever change."

Initial online reactions to the excerpt seemed mixed. Some thought it notable that Pence, a rumored 2024 hopeful, chose to release the book segment immediately after Trump's poor showing in the midterms, while others felt it was an attempt to shift the blame for Jan. 6. Still others figured it simply a worthwhile and telling read regardless.