Former President Donald Trump defended supporters who called for the hanging of former Vice President Mike Pence for certifying the results of the 2020 election, according to an audio tape obtained by Axios.
The recording reveals a conversation between Trump and ABC News host Jonathan Karl conducted at Mar-a-Lago in March, Axios reported. Karl asks Trump about Pence’s experience at the Capitol on Jan. 6, when Trump’s supporters stormed the building in an attempt to stop Pence and Congress from verifying President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
“Were you worried about [Pence] during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?” Karl asked Trump.
“No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, but, no, I think —,” Trump responded.
“Because you heard those chants — that was terrible. I mean —,” Karl said. (RELATED: Appeals Court Blocks January 6 Committee Access To Trump White House Documents)
“He could have — well, the people were very angry,” Trump explained.
“They were saying ‘hang Mike Pence,'” Karl said. (RELATED: Jan. 6 Committee Threatens Contempt Referrals Over Defied Subpoenas)
“Because it’s common sense, Jon. 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?” Trump responded. “How can you do that? And I’m telling you: 50/50, it’s right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them. Anybody I spoke to — almost all of them at least pretty much agree, and some very much agree with me — because he’s passing on a vote that he knows is fraudulent. How can you pass a vote that you know is fraudulent?”
“Now, when I spoke to him, I really talked about all of the fraudulent things that happened during the election. I didn’t talk about the main point, which is the legislatures did not approve — five states. The legislatures did not approve all of those changes that made the difference between a very easy win for me in the states, or a loss that was very close, because the losses were all very close,” Trump added.
Trump’s relationship with Pence turned cold in the final days of their administration as the vice president refused to get on board with Trump’s push to overturn the results of the election. Pence did not have the authority as vice president to block the certification of Biden’s win, but both Trump and his supporters urged him to do so regardless.
Both men are likely candidates to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
ABC will release Karl’s full interview with Trump on Sunday, Nov. 14.