ABC’s Jon Karl put Mike Pence in the hot seat, asking the former vice president if he thought Donald Trump’s call for protest if he is arrested Tuesday “irresponsible” incitement.
Pence joined Karl on Sunday’s ABC’s “This Week” and, among other things, questioned about Trump’s post on Truth Social Saturday that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday, citing “illegal leaks from a corrupt and highly political Manhattan court district” as the source of his information. While there is no official word if it’s true or not that an indictment is coming, Trump called on his supporters to protest and “take our nation back.”
“The Manhattan DA has not said anything about it but he’s calling for people to protest … is that irresponsible?” Karl asked.
“I’m taken aback at the idea of indicting a former President of the United States at a time when there’s a crime wave in New York City,” Pence responded, adding that Trump’s potential arrest feels like a “politically charged prosecution.” “The fact that the Manhattan DA thinks that indicting President Trump is his top priority, I think it just tells you everything you need to know about the radical left in this country.”
Curving Pence’s attempt to tamper down concerns of past actions while pointing to record inflation and the war in Eastern Europe as major issues Americans are focusing on, Karl made the gravity of inciting another potential riot crystal clear. “He’s calling on people to protest — to come out and protest — take our nation back!” Karl said. “We know what happened the last time he said that.”
“Well, Jon, the American people have a constitutional right to peacefully assemble,” Pence said. Karl quickly shot back, “Absolutely, but to have a former president calling on people to protest a justice proceeding?”
While Pence justified that “frustration the American people feel about what they sense is a two-tiered justice system in this country” is “well-founded,” he made it clear that he did not believe potential protests would escalate beyond peaceful assembly.
“I believe that people understand that if they give voice to this — if this occurs on Tuesday — that they need to do so peacefully and in a lawful manner,” Pence said.
Pence, who also admitted in the interview that his potential support for Trump’s presidential bid is “yet to be seen,” also distanced Tuesday’s potential protests from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. “That the violence that occurred on January 6th, the violence that occurred in cities throughout this country in the summer of 2020 was a disgrace,” Pence continued. “The American people won’t tolerate it, and those that engage in that kind of violence should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”