Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday delivered his strongest remarks about the January 6 pro-Trump riot attack on the US Capitol, saying he and former President Donald Trump may never "see eye to eye" on the incident.
"January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol," said Pence at the Republican Committee's Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. "But thanks to the prompt action of Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, the violence was suppressed, the Capitol was secured. And that very day we reconstituted Congress and performed our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States."
He added: "You know, President Trump and I have talked many times since leaving office. And I don't know if we'll ever be face-to-face that day."
Pence still praised the achievements of the Trump administration.
"But I will always be proud of what we have done for the American people over the past four years," he said. “And I will not allow Democrats or their allies in the media to use a sad day to discredit the aspirations of millions of Americans or to divide the Democrats or their allies in the media to advance our nation through a new administration. Will not allow our attention to be distracted from the intentions of his radical agenda."
The Capitol descended into chaos and violence on January 6, when hundreds of pro-Trump rioters stormed the building, killing several people, including a Capitol police officer. The mob forced the Senate to evacuate, and Pence had to be moved to a safe location. In a dramatic moment, police officers drew guns as rioters tried to break into the chamber of the House. Hundreds of people have been arrested or charged by federal law enforcement in connection with the incidents.
The riots led the Democratic-controlled House to draft an article of impeachment against Trump, alleging that he instigated a rebellion. She was acquitted in the Senate, but events have left the GOP in turmoil, particularly the removal of Wyoming's Liz Cheney as the No. 3 House Republican because of Trump's criticism over the riots.
A large number of House Republicans also opposed the creation of the January 6 Commission, which passed with overwhelming Democratic support. Only 35 Republicans voted in favor.
Pence's brother, Rep. Greg Pence, R-Ind., was among those who voted against setting up a panel that would have investigated the day the pro-Trump crowd chanted "Hang Mike Pence. " Trump also turned on Pence, saying that his second-in-command did not have the courage to stop the counting of the electoral votes that certified Joe Biden's election as president. Under the Constitution, Pence did not have the authority to do so.
Pence also criticized Biden's policies on Thursday, particularly on immigration and foreign relations, and said a "Republican comeback" would come through a "positive conservative agenda" in the midterm elections next year.