Pence is, of course, right. The violent insurrection at the US Capitol, which left more than 100 police officers injured and five people dead, were a cataclysm the likes of which American democracy has rarely seen.
And Pence, as vice president on that day, had no role other than a ceremonial one — to oversee the formal certification of the electoral vote count that showed Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
None of those facts will protect him from the anger of Donald Trump and the base the former President commands, however.
Pence appears to be putting himself, purposely, in the former category. Which is a very interesting gambit given that there is, to date, zero evidence that Republicans who break with Trump on January 6 have any sort of political future within the Party.
* Fully 53% of Republicans in the poll said that Donald Trump was the “true” president, while 47% said Joe Biden, who is the actual president.
* Another 56% of Republicans say that the results of the 2020 election were “the result of illegal voting or election rigging.”
* More than 6 in 10 GOPers either “strongly” (39%) or “somewhat” (22%) agreed with the statement that the 2020 election “was stolen from Donald Trump.”
Base voters tend to have an outsized say in choosing the presidential nominee. And base Republican voters — at least to date — believe that Trump had the election stolen from him. And Trump, with the willing complicity of lots of Republican leaders in Congress, is trying to rewrite what happened on January 6.
Pence isn’t reading off that script. Which, in its way, is admirable. But unless the Republican Party’s views on Trump change radically between now and 2024 (always possible!), Pence’s position on January 6 might well disqualify him from serious consideration by Republican primary voters.
What a world.