Former Vice President Mike Pence took direct aim at his onetime boss, former President Donald Trump, for actions Trump took to try to stay in office that led to the four-count federal indictment unveiled Tuesday.
“Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States,” Pence said in a statement.
“Our country is more important than one man,” the former vice president said. “Our constitution is more important than any one man’s career.”
Pence also defended himself for ignoring Trump’s pleas — some of which were cited as evidence in the indictment by the government — to disregard the Electoral College results of the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6, 2021.
In the ensuing insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Pence was placed in physical danger by the attackers, the indictment says.
“On January 6, Former President Trump demanded that I choose between him and the Constitution. I chose the Constitution and I always will,” Pence said Tuesday.
Pence is running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, but has yet to gain much traction against the former president.
Per the indictment, federal prosecutors said that on Jan. 5, 2021, Trump warned Pence in a private meeting that he would have to publicly criticize him for not agreeing to ignore the Electoral College results.
“Upon learning of this, the Vice President’s Chief of Staff was concerned for the Vice President’s safety and alerted the head of the Vice President’s Secret Service detail,” the indictment reads.
The document also notes that on Jan. 6, after the Capitol had been breached, Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m. that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done” about the election.
“One minute later, at 2:25 p.m., the United States Secret Service was forced to evacuate the Vice President to a secure location,” the indictment says.