Pence: Trump Was Surrounded by 'Crackpot Lawyers'

Former VP steps up criticism of onetime boss
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2023 6:15 PM CDT
Pence: Trump Was Surrounded by 'Crackpot Lawyers'
Mike Pence speaks with the media during a stop at the Indiana State Fair, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023, in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Mike Pence declined to comment on the merits of the latest federal indictment of Donald Trump on Wednesday—but the former vice president did step up his criticism of his onetime boss. He said he "dismissed" Trump's demand that he reject the Electoral College results on Jan. 6, 2021. "Sadly, the president was surrounded by a group of crackpot lawyers that kept telling him what his itching ears wanted to hear," Pence said at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, per ABC. "And while I made my case to him, with what I understood my oath of the Constitution to require, the president ultimately continued to demand that I choose him over the Constitution." Pence didn't rule out testifying at Trump's trial.

"Irrespective of how this case plays out, I want the American people to know that I believe with all my heart, by God's grace, I did my duty on that day," said Pence, who is running against Trump for the GOP nomination, though his former boss is far ahead in the polls. Trump attacked Pence in two posts on his Truth Social network at around the same time Pence was speaking in Indiana, the Hill reports. In one post, which was mainly aimed at Ron DeSantis, Trump said Pence, like the Florida governor, is a "very disloyal guy who has taken bad advice." Trump claimed that he took Pence from a "flawed and failing gubernatorial re-elect campaign" in Indiana to be his vice president.

In the second post, Trump said he felt "badly" for Pence, "who is attracting no crowds, enthusiasm, or loyalty" despite his service in the Trump administration. Pence, he said, "didn't fight against Election Fraud, which we will now be easily able to prove based on the most recent Fake Indictment & information which will have to be made available to us, finally." According to the indictment, Trump pressured Pence to reject electoral votes even when the then-VP called to wish him a merry Christmas. (More Mike Pence stories.)

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