Day Before Riot, Pence Aide Warned Secret Service

Chief of staff feared violent reaction to Trump's criticism over election certification
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2022 2:00 PM CDT
Aide Warned Secret Service Pence Was at Risk Before Riot
Vice President Mike Pence presides over a joint session of Congress as it prepared to count Electoral College votes cast in the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6, 2021.   (Saul Loeb/Pool via AP, File)

(Newser) – Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff wasn't sure what was going to happen on Jan. 6, 2021. But he knew President Trump was about to publicly denounce Pence for not trying to block Congress from certifying Joe Biden's electoral victory in the presidential election, and he reasoned that could put Pence in danger, the New York Times reports. So for the only time during the Trump administration, Marc Short warned the lead Secret Service agent on Pence's detail on Jan. 5 that there could be trouble. Short had reason to be concerned.

Trump supporters chanted "Hang Mike Pence" when they stormed the Capitol the next day and set up a mock gallows outside. Inside, agents hustled Pence from the House chamber, through the building, to a hiding place. It's not clear whether the agent, Tim Giebels, took any action based on the warning. Trump later said that he knew of the chants but didn't worry because he knew Pence was well guarded. Information about the warning recently emerged in research by Times reporter Maggie Haberman for an upcoming book. Pence's staff and the Secret Service did not comment.

Pence had already told Trump he didn't think he had the authority to reject the electors' votes and wasn't going to try to. The president tweeted on Jan. 5 that Pence did have that power and pressured him in a conversation. Just before the riot began, Trump told a rally outside the White House: "Mike Pence, I hope you're going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you're not, I'm going to be very disappointed in you." The split between Trump and Pence has solidified since, with Pence saying in February that the former president was wrong about whether he could throw out the election results. (Read more Capitol riot stories.)

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