When a former vice president of the United States runs for the Oval Office, usually that candidate will connect themselves with that job and the administration in which they served.
Mike Pence is running for the Republican nomination for president, yet he has taken care to mostly distance himself from his former boss, President Donald Trump. Trump and Pence polarized on Jan 6, 2021, when Pence did not act on Trump’s directions concerning the events at the Capitol that day.
Even though Pence usually has an answer ready when questions are asked about his stance on that issue and others, his distance from Trump hasn’t resonated with GOP voters year, based on polling. Pence is low on the scale of Republicans running for president, greatly outdistanced by Trump and even Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
His reticence once again put Pence on the hot seat Friday, as he had difficulty answering a question about the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol incident when asked by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
As Carlson has left the network and gone out on his own, he is free to ask even tougher questions of his guests during interviews.
Pence was attending a 2024 GOP presidential candidate forum hosted by Carlson called the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, when he was put on the spot with a blunt question about that fateful day that he initially declined to address directly, Conservative Brief reports.
At one point, Carlson gave Pence the opportunity to speak to events on that fateful day that turned Trump, and many of Trump’s supporters, against him with a burning question that has been on the minds of many of the former
“I have to ask you since you were a witness to and in some unintentional way a participant in one of the most widely covered events in American history, Jan. 6: What was that? Do you think that was an insurrection?” Carlson asked.
Pence took in a deep breath and sighed before first moving to thank the event’s organizers in what appeared to be a clear sign he was stalling.
“Can I just take a moment just to say thank you?” he asked before going on to mention some pro-life protections that were recently signed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.
But eventually, the former VP did get around to answering Carlson’s question. “Now, as to that day, let me just say: All I know for sure, having lived through it at the Capitol, is that it was a tragic day,” Pence said. He added: “I’ve never used the word ‘insurrection,’ Tucker, over the last two years. But it was a riot that took place at the Capitol that day.”
Pence went on to lament the “tragic loss of life” on that day, which led Carlson to interrupt him. “When you say ‘the tragic loss of life,’ who are you referring to?” he asked. The former VP said he was talking about Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed demonstrator who was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer in plainclothes as she attempted to crawl through the broken window of a door that led to the House chamber.
Former President Trump has also lamented the fact that any lives were lost during the events at the Capitol.
Carlson and Pence also engaged in some back-and-forth over the Biden administration’s continued financial and military support for Ukraine.
“You are distressed that the Ukrainians don’t have enough American tanks? Every city in the United States has become much worse over the past three years. Drive around. There is not one city that’s gotten better in the United States. And it’s visible,” Carlson began.
“Our economy has degraded, the suicide rate has jumped, public filth and disorder and crime have exponentially increased, and yet your concern is that the Ukrainians, a country most people can’t find on a map, who have received tens of billions of U.S. tax dollars, don’t have enough tanks?” he said.
“I think it’s a fair question to ask: Where’s the concern for the United States in that?” he added.
Rather than give a specific answer to the question, Pence responded with a general statement.
“That’s not my concern. I’ve heard that routine from you before but that’s not my concern. I’m running for president of the United States because I think this country is in a lot of trouble,” Pence responded.
“I think Joe Biden has weakened America at home and abroad. And as president of the United States we’re going to restore law and order in our cities. We’re going to restore law and order in our cities, secure our border, get this economy moving again, and we’re going to make sure that we have men and women on our courts at every level who will stand for the right to life and defend all the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution,” he added.