Former Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday delivered his strongest condemnation yet of former President Trump after his former running mate was indicted on four criminal charges related to his efforts to cling to power and overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States,” Pence wrote in a statement.
“Our country is more important than one man. Our constitution is more important than any one man’s career. On January 6th, Former President Trump demanded that I choose between him and the Constitution. I chose the Constitution and I always will,” he added.
Pence said he would have more to say about the indictment after he reads it, but he also repeated a common sentiment, noting that this latest indictment “means more talk about January 6th and more distractions.”
“As Americans, his candidacy means less attention paid to Joe Biden’s disastrous economic policies afflicting millions across the United States and to the pattern of corruption with Hunter,” Pence said, referring to Trump.
Both Pence and Trump are running for president in 2024.
The indictment details how Pence became embroiled in Trump’s alleged plot to stay in office, which culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. In the couple of weeks leading up to Jan. 6, Trump “directly pressured the Vice President to use his ceremonial role at the certification proceeding on January 6 to fraudulently overturn the results of the election, and the Vice President resisted,” the indictment reads, before listing several examples.
In one example, the indictment says Pence called Trump to wish him a Merry Christmas on Dec. 25, and Trump turned the conversation to the Jan. 6 proceedings, prompting Pence to say, “You know I don’t think I have the authority to change the outcome.”
On Jan. 1, the indictment alleges, Trump called Pence and “berated him” after learning Pence opposed a lawsuit seeking to augment the vice president’s ceremonial role in the certification process. Trump allegedly told Pence, “You’re too honest.”
Pence, in his statement Tuesday, promised to restore integrity to the office.
“As your president, I will not yield an inch in defending America, our people, or our values, and I promise you: I will do so in a way consistent with my oath to the Constitution and the character and decency of the American people,” Pence wrote. “We will restore a threshold of integrity and civility in public life so we can bring real solutions to the challenges plaguing our nation.”