Donald Trump defends calls to hang Mike Pence during Capitol riot

Trump and Pence ran together in 2016 for the White House, but their relationship became strained, particularly as Trump sought to contest the 2020 elections. 

 FORMER US PRESIDENT Donald Trump attends his first post-presidency campaign rally, in Wellington, Ohio, in June.  (photo credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)
FORMER US PRESIDENT Donald Trump attends his first post-presidency campaign rally, in Wellington, Ohio, in June.
(photo credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)

Former US president Donald Trump defended his supporters who during the January 6 Capitol riot threatened to hang then-vice president Mike Pence, Axios reported on Friday. 

The comments were made in an interview with Trump in Mar-a-Lago back in March by Jonathan Karl for his new book, Betrayal, which is slated for release next week.

In the interview, an excerpt of which was shared with Axios, Karl asked if Trump was worried about Pence. The former president said no, saying he "thought he was well protected" and "in good shape."

Regarding the chants to hang Pence, Trump justified it by saying "well, the people were very angry."

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures next to Vice President Mike Pence, as he holds a campaign rally at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S., November 2, 2020 (credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)U.S. President Donald Trump gestures next to Vice President Mike Pence, as he holds a campaign rally at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S., November 2, 2020 (credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)

When Karl continued by saying "They were saying 'hang Mike Pence,'" Trump replied that "it's common sense."

"It's common sense that you're supposed to protect," Trump continued, according to Axios. 

"How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that? And I'm telling you: 50/50, it's right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them. Anybody I spoke to — almost all of them at least pretty much agree, and some very much agree with me — because he's passing on a vote that he knows is fraudulent. How can you pass a vote that you know is fraudulent? 

"Now, when I spoke to him, I really talked about all of the fraudulent things that happened during the election. I didn't talk about the main point, which is the legislatures did not approve — five states. The legislatures did not approve all of those changes that made the difference between a very easy win for me in the states, or a loss that was very close, because the losses were all very close."

Further details regarding the interview are set to be shared on Sunday on ABC, according to Axios.

Trump and Pence ran together in 2016 for the White House, but their relationship became strained, particularly as Trump sought to contest the 2020 elections. 

On January 6, Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol as Congress was certifying the election results. Pence was present in the Senate at the time.

Police officers stand guard as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington (credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)Police officers stand guard as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington (credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)

This is a developing story.