Pence says it’s ‘unacceptable’ for Trump to call Jan. 6 defendants hostages

Former Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday that it’s “unacceptable” for former President Trump to refer to those charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack as “hostages” as they move through the criminal justice system.

“I think it’s very unfortunate. At a time that there are American hostages being held in Gaza, that the president or any other leaders would refer to people that are moving through our justice system as hostages,” Pence said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”

“And it’s just, it’s just unacceptable,” he said.

Pence underscored the gravity of the events that transpired on Jan. 6, 2021, when Pence was among the primary targets of the angry mob that stormed the Capitol. Outside the Capitol building, a gallows was constructed, and the mob chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!”

“I was there on January 6. I have no doubt in my mind, Margaret, that some people were caught up in the moment and … entered the Capitol, and they’re certainly entitled to due process of law for any nonviolent activities that day,” Pence told CBS moderator Margaret Brennan. “But the assaults on police officers ultimately in an environment that claimed lives is something that I think was tragic that day, and I’ll never diminish it.”

Pence’s remarks come two days after he announced he would not endorse the former president — his two-time running mate, in 2016 and in 2020.

On Saturday, Trump referred to Jan. 6 prisoners as hostages and said, “They’ve been treated terribly and very unfairly, and you know that, and everybody knows that. And we’re going to be working on that soon, the first day we get into office, we’re going to save our country, and we’re going to work with the people to treat those unbelievable patriots — and they were unbelievable patriots and are,” Trump said, in a clip Brennan played earlier.

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