Pence Would Consider Testifying Before January 6 Committee, He Says in New Hampshire
‘I would have to reflect on the unique role that I was serving as vice president,’ he asserts.
Vice President Pence says he would be open to at least considering whether to testify before the January 6 committee investigating his former boss’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
“If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” Mr. Pence said Wednesday morning in Manchester at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics’ “Politics & Eggs” breakfast, a traditional campaign must-stop for presidential hopefuls.
“I would have to reflect on the unique role that I was serving as vice president,” Mr. Pence said to the packed hall. “It would be unprecedented in history for a vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill. But, as I said, I don’t want to prejudge ever any formal invitation rendered to us.”
Usually reticent to speak publicly about the events of January 6, 2021, Mr. Pence mentioned his upcoming memoir, which will be released in November, and added, “in the months and years ahead, I’ll be telling my story more frequently.”
He called January 6 a “tragic day,” though he said it was “ultimately a triumph for freedom,” because elected officials — himself included — reconvened to certify the election. While he lamented what he sees as a partisan congressional investigation, Mr. Pence definitively stated that “the American people have a right to know what happened.”
President Trump loomed large over the speech, though Mr. Pence never disparaged his former boss by name. “It’s fairly well known that President Trump and I have had our differences,” Mr. Pence said to laughs.
Mr. Pence also reiterated his calls for more information and transparency from Attorney General Garland about the justifications for the August 8 raid of Mr. Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.
“In the wake of the four years we endured, with the politicization of the FBI, the American people have a right to know the basis for this,” Mr. Pence said.
Yet he also called on his fellow Republicans to stop disparaging the FBI and to cease the calls, coming from some GOP members of Congress, to “defund the FBI.”
“Our party stands with the men and women who stand on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level, and these attacks must stop,” Mr. Pence said. “Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.”
In what is often framed as a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, Mr. Pence made his case for standard conservative principles and the Trump agenda without the drama and cult of personality of his former boss.
In what sounded like one of his 2020 campaign speeches, Mr. Pence listed the accomplishments of the “Trump-Pence administration” and then added new criticisms about the Biden administration and its policies that he says are “burning down the American economy.”
The former vice president kept returning the notion that the Republican Party is about ideas and protecting the Constitution, which appeared to be a dig at Mr. Trump and his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.
The speech did not dispel rumors that Mr. Pence is considering a White House run; quite the opposite. “Many people who don’t understand our movement thought that it was driven by personality,” Mr. Pence said.
“But,” he added, “I must tell you as I spoke to crowds large and small across the country, it was the ideas that created the roar. It was the commitment to those American values that brought people out.”
To Representative Liz Cheney and the nine other GOP members of Congress who voted to impeach Trump after January 6, that line rings hollow. Of these 10, four lost their bids for re-election in primaries, four decided not to run again, and only two survived Republican primary challenges. Mr. Pence declined to answer several reporters’ questions about Representative Cheney and her primary loss Tuesday.
Mr. Trump remains popular in the Republican Party and, as the protestors who chanted “hang Mike Pence” on January 6 demonstrated, the former vice president appears, at least for the moment, to have lost favor with this base.
Mr. Pence, though, gave several hints at a possible White House run in 2024. “I’ve never spent much time in New Hampshire, but I may someday,” he said. He also said he will go “wherever the Lord leads.”
Only nine percent of Granite State Republican voters favor Mr. Pence as their first-choice candidate in a 2024 presidential primary, while 39 percent pick Governor DeSantis of Florida and 37 percent pick Mr. Trump, according to a June University of New Hampshire poll.
The executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Neil Lesveque, dismisses this polling, telling the Sun that Mr. Pence “does convey a good conservative message and he is meeting people here. So I think it’s way too early to look at polling on anything for 2024.”
Ms. McCaughey is a native New Yorker now based in New Hampshire. Her interests include politics, drug policy, and counterculture.