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Mike Pence refused to get in car amid 6 January riots fearing Secret Service ‘conspiracy’, reports claim

·3 min read
Former US Vice President Mike Pence delivers a China policy speech at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, in Washington, DC, USA, 14 July 2021 (EPA)
Former US Vice President Mike Pence delivers a China policy speech at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, in Washington, DC, USA, 14 July 2021 (EPA)

Former Vice President Mike Pence purportedly refused to get into a vehicle with secret service agents amid the 6 January riots out of fear there was a “conspiracy” to “vindicate the insurrection”.

The claims come in an extract of Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker’s new book I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year, released this week.

According to the journalists, Mr Pence refused to evacuate the Capitol a number of times on 6 January as pro-Trump rioters stormed the building in a bid to prevent the certification of the 2020 election results.

Amid the riots Mr Pence was evacuated from the Senate chamber to his ceremonial office, where he remained protected by secret service agents alongside members of his family, the book’s account recalls.

However, his security reportedly thought Mr Pence was “vulnerable because the second-floor office had windows that could be breached”.

Tim Giebels, the lead special agent in charge of the former vice president’s protective detail, reportedly “twice asked Pence to evacuate the Capitol” to which Mr Pence refused, The Post said.

“I’m not leaving the Capitol,” he reportedly told Mr Giebels. “The last thing the vice president wanted was the people attacking the Capitol to see his 20-car motorcade fleeing. That would only vindicate their insurrection.”

As the chaos continued to unfold, Mr Pence was said to have been ordered to leave the office and was escorted to a “subterranean area that rioters couldn’t reach” and towards an armoured limousine.

Mr Pence then reportedly outright refused to get into the vehicle, saying his security detail would ignore his demand not to leave the building and would instead “take off” against his wishes.

“I’m not getting in the car, Tim,” Mr Pence replied. “I trust you, Tim, but you’re not driving the car. If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off. I’m not getting in the car.”

According to RawStory, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace said that sources with knowledge of the day said Mr Pence “feared a conspiracy, feared that the Secret Service would aid Trump and his ultimate aims that day”.

She added: “This is the most harrowing version of Mike Pence’s day I’ve seen reported.”

During the insurrection, Mr Pence was made a target of rioters’ fury following inflammatory statements by Donald Trump, with many heard shouting “Where’s Mike Pence?” and “Hang Mike Pence”.

Mr Trump and his supporters were angry at the vice president for refusing to block the electoral certification, a power he did not possess.

Mr Trump called on Mr Pence to overturn the results only hours before their certification saying: “All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!”

On the afternoon of 6 January the former president Tweeted: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

Mr Pence and the other lawmakers who had been evacuated later returned to the Senate chamber to see out the certification of the election results.

The Independent has contacted Mr Pence’s political advocacy group, Advancing American Freedom, for comment.

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