ABC journalist Jonathan Karl has revealed that during an interview with Donald Trump, the former president said he “would not dispute” telling former Vice President Mike Pence he would “go down in history as a pussy.”
Shortly before Pence left for the Capitol to certify the presidential election results on January 6, he had the insulting call with Trump. Hours later Trump’s supporters were threatening to hang Pence in the halls of Congress.
“You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Trump told Pence according to The New York Times, “or you can go down in history as a pussy.”
Karl interviewed Trump after the former president left office and includes the conversation in his new book about the end of the Trump administration, Betrayal. When asked about the quote, Trump didn’t try to deny it.
“I wouldn’t dispute it,” Trump told Karl.
“Really?” Karl asked.
“I wouldn’t dispute it,” Trump repeated.
Trump supporters rampaging through the Capitol constructed a makeshift noose and chanted “Hang Mike Pence” while the former vice president was presiding over the largely ceremonial process of the Senate accepting all 50 states’ electoral votes. Pence was whisked away by the Secret Service and Capitol Police before the rioters could reach him, but was forced into hiding and had at least one close call.
“I thought he was well-protected,” Trump said about Pence that day. “I had heard he was in very good shape.”
Karl pushed back, saying, “You heard those chants, that was terrible, I mean… they were saying ‘Hang Mike Pence.’”
“People were very angry because it’s common sense,” Trump said. “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?”
Karl asked if Trump truly thought Pence could have single-handedly changed the results and Trump replied, “I think we would have won, yeah.”
When Karl asked if he could ever forgive Pence, Trump hesitated.
“I don’t know,” the former president said. “Because I picked him. I like him, I still like him, but I don’t know that I can forgive him.”
Pence, who may run for president in 2024 and will need votes from people who voted for Trump, has refused to denounce Trump’s actions that could have gotten him killed.
EXCLUSIVE: @jonkarl’s new book reveals former Pres. Trump pressured former Vice Pres. Pence the morning of Jan. 6, saying "you can be a patriot or you can be a *****."
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 14, 2021