Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he’d “consider” testifying before the Democrat-led House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot.
“If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” Pence said during an event at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH.
“I would have to reflect on the unique role that I was serving in as vice president,” the former Indiana governor added. “It’d be unprecedented in history for a vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill.”
The committee generally videotapes interviews with subjects and then airs snippets of the most damning parts at public hearings.
“I don’t want to prejudge. If there’s ever any formal invitation rendered to us, we’d give it due consideration,” Pence emphasized Wednesday. “But my first obligation is to continue to uphold my oath [and] continue to uphold the framework of government enshrined in the Constitution.”
The former vice president’s failure to rule out testifying is likely to outrage pro-Donald Trump Republicans who have condemned the committee’s process as a “show trial” of the 45th president. The panel’s vice chair is outgoing anti-Trump Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who on Tuesday lost her Republican primary to Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman.
In January of this year, committee chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) suggested the panel would ask the former vice president to appear voluntarily.
The only sitting or former vice president to appear before Congress was Schuyler Colfax, Ulysses S. Grant’s second-in-command, who appeared on his own accord before a House select committee in 1873.
Pence was a pivotal player in the events of Jan. 6, 2021, refusing Trump’s demand that he reject electors for President-elect Joe Biden while presiding over the official certification of the 2020 election.
Trump tore into Pence in a mid-riot tweet for lacking the “courage” to single-handedly attempt to overturn Biden’s victory and pro-Trump demonstrators chanted “hang Mike Pence!” after smashing into the Capitol and disrupting proceedings.
“Where’s Pence? Show yourself!” a rioter shouted after breaking onto the Senate floor. The then-vice president had fled to a secure location just minutes earlier.
Pence’s refusal to toss out the swing-state electors for Biden made him a hero to many people, including Democrats who previously detested him for his socially conservative views.
The 63-year-old is considered a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, though Trump remains the heavy favorite for the GOP nomination if he runs again, according to several polls.
Since leaving office, Pence has tried to play down talk of a rift between himself and the former president, saying last month that “I don’t know that the president and I differ on issues” before adding: “But we may differ on focus.”
At the same New Hampshire event, Pence broke with pro-Trump Republicans calling for the FBI to be defunded or abolished following last week’s raid on the former president’s residence in Florida, which the FBI says was to retrieve classified documents.
“These attacks on the FBI must stop,” Pence said. “Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.”
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