Supporters of then-President Donald Trump assembled in Washington, DC, hours before the deadly January 6 insurgency, angry over what they saw as a “stolen” 2020 election, with the commander-in-chief continuing to give credence to bogus election allegations that had been rejected in court.
Trump had been urging his No. 2 to overturn the election, with Vice President Mike Pence prepared to take the reins in certifying the Electoral College votes supporting now-President Joe Biden’s victory.
According to the New York Times, Trump went so far as to contact Vice President Mike Pence on January 6 as he was leaving his home to monitor vote verification.
“You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Trump reportedly said, according to two people familiar with the conversation, “or you can go down in history as a pussy.”
In a March 18 interview with ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl, Trump was asked if the allegation was accurate, and he didn’t refute the remarks.
“I wouldn’t dispute it,” he told Karl.
Karl responded: “Really?”
The former one-term president repeated his statement: “I wouldn’t dispute it.”
Karl’s next book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” will provide a more comprehensive account of what occurred during the tumultuous post-election period.
Trump has hinted at a presidential run in 2024 several times since the January events, putting him on a collision course with former Vice President Joe Biden if both men decide to run.
In a recent interview with Fox News, the former president said that he and Pence had a “very good relationship,” but that he was “disappointed with Mike on one item,” a subtle allusion to the former vice president’s unwillingness to overturn the Electoral College certification.
Trump maintained this topic in his interview with Karl, saying that Pence could have used his position to challenge the results and calling Pence’s actions a “tragic mistake.”
“He could have — well, the people were very angry,” Trump said. “If you know a vote is fraudulent, right, how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?”
When Karl asked if Trump would still be in the White House if Pence had vetoed the certification, Trump said he believed he would.
“I think we would have won, yeah,” he said.
The former president, on the other hand, was split on whether he could “forgive” Pence.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Because I picked him. I like him, I still like him, but I don’t know that I can forgive him.”