Amanda Carpenter (in The Bulwark.com) examines The Strategic Silence of Mike Pence Complicity, cowardice, or nihilism?
On January 6, a horde of pro-Trump rioters breached the United States Capitol with one bloodthirsty mission in mind: to stop Vice President Mike Pence from carrying out his constitutional obligation to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory.
Even if it meant killing him.
Makeshift gallows were erected on the West side of the complex. Members of the mob shouted “Hang Mike Pence!” as they stormed the halls of Congress, hunting for the vice president, as well as any other officials they could get their hands on. Well over 100 police officers were injured and maimed by the mob; Capitol Hill Police Officer Brian Sicknick was killed. Two Capitol Hill Police officers later committed suicide.
And to this day, the former vice president hasn’t had a word to say about his experience.
Throughout Trump’s impeachment, Pence remained mute. As someone who could provide both important facts—what did Trump know about the situation, when, and what was his reaction—and bear witness to Trump’s state of mind in the days and hours leading up to the attack, Pence was in a rare, possibly even unique, position. Over the course of the weeks following the election, Pence had been a perpetrator of Trump’s big election lie and at the final hour became a target of it. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who was one of the 10 House Republicans to vote for impeachment and who came forward with her blockbuster testimony during the Senate trial, begged Pence to share what he knew.
Pence’s silence could easily be chalked up to all manner of causes: submissiveness, cowardice, fear, or naked political calculation.
Or maybe it’s something worse.
Ask yourself: Why would Mike Pence bother lifting his voice in defense of his own life if no one else in his party cares to do so?
Over the coming months, the former vice president is going to spend lots of time speaking to and for the same movement that built up, supported, and defended the president who put a target on his back on January 6.
Aside from morbid curiosity, it’s unclear why anyone would listen to what he has to say. Pence’s strategic silence shows us that he’s either unable or unwilling to stand up for his own health and safety. Why would anyone trust him to stand up for America?