According to former White House staffers, Donald Trump called VP Mike Pence a “wimp” in a “heated” phone call just after 11 am on January 6, the Special Committee investigating the attack heard on June 16.
Footage posted by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol included statements from former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann and former White House adviser Ivanka Trump about the former president’s behavior toward Pence in the moments leading up to the attack on the Capitol.
According to Ivanka Trump and Herschmann, Trump had a “pretty heated” phone conversation with Pence at 11:20 am on January 6.
Former White House staffer Nick Luna said he remembered Trump calling Pence a wimp: “I remember hearing the word wimp …. I don’t remember if he said, ‘You are a wimp, you’ll be a wimp.’ Wimp is the word I remember," Luna said.
Julie Radford, former adviser to Ivanka Trump, said Ivanka relayed to her that her father had called Mike Pence “the p-word.”
Former legal counsel to the vice president Greg Jacob told the committee that he advised Pence against delaying the vote count to certify the 2020 election. Credit: CSPAN via Storyful
PETE AGUILAR: Mr. Short told us during his deposition that the vice president started a meeting on January 6 in prayer. Here is what Mr. Short said.
- --as you arrived at the vice president's residence.
MARC SHORT: Um, as would often be the case, I recall that knowing it would be an important day, we gathered in prayer. And often that would be something a staff member would lead. So it would have just been, at that time, I believe, the vice president, myself, Greg, and Chris. And we would have just asked for guidance and wisdom, knowing that the day was going to be a challenging one.
PETE AGUILAR: Mr. Jacob, did you go to the vice president's residence on the morning of January 6?
GREG JACOB: Yes.
PETE AGUILAR: Who else was with you?
GREG JACOB: Marc Short; Devin O'Malley, our communications director; and Chris Hodgson, our legislative affairs director.
PETE AGUILAR: And did the vice president have a call with the president that morning?
GREG JACOB: He did.
PETE AGUILAR: Were you with the vice president during the call?
GREG JACOB: So we had been putting the-- the vice president had finalized his statement overnight. We were in the process of proofing it so that we could get that out.
And we were told that a call had come in from the president. The vice president stepped out of the room to take that call. And no staff went with him.
PETE AGUILAR: The president had several family members with him in the Oval that morning for that call. I'd like to show you what they and others told the Select Committee about that call, along with never-before-seen photographs of the president on that call from the National Archives
ERIC HERSCHMANN: When I got in, somebody called me and said that the family and others were in the Oval, and do I want to come up? So I went upstairs.
- And who do you recall being in the Oval Office?
ERIC HERSCHMANN: Don Jr., Eric, Laura, Kimberley. Believe Meadows was there. At some point, Ivanka came in.
IVANKA TRUMP: It wasn't a specific, formal discussion. It was very sort of loose and casual.
- So then you said at some point, there's a telephone conversation between the president and the vice president. Is that correct?
ERIC HERSCHMANN: Yes.
IVANKA TRUMP: When I entered the office the second time, he was on the telephone with who I later found out to be was the vice president.
- Could you hear the vice president or only hear the president's end?
ERIC HERSCHMANN: Only hear the president's end. At some point, it started off as a calmer tone and everything, and then became heated.
IVANKA TRUMP: The conversation was-- was pretty heated.
ERIC HERSCHMANN: I think till it became somewhat in a louder tone, I don't think anyone was paying attention to it initially.
- Did you hear any part of the phone call, even if just this-- the end that the president was speaking from?
NICHOLAS LUNA: I did. Yes.
- All right. And what did you hear?
NICHOLAS LUNA: So as I was dropping off the note, my memory-- I remember hearing the word "wimp." Either he called him a wimp-- I don't remember if he said, you are a wimp, you'll be a wimp. "Wimp" is the word I remember.
- It's also been reported that the president said to the vice president that-- something to the effect of, you don't the courage to make a hard decision.
KEITH KELLOGG: Worse. And I don't remember exactly either, but something like that. Yeah.
- Do you--
KEITH KELLOGG: Being-- like being you're not tough enough to make the call.
IVANKA TRUMP: It was a different tone than I'd heard him take with the vice president before.
- Did Ms. Trump share with you any more details about what had happened, or any details about what had happened in the Oval Office that morning?
JULIE RADFORD: That her dad had just had an upsetting conversation with the vice president.
- Do you recall anything about her demeanor, either during the meeting or when you encountered her in Dan Scavino's office?
ERIC HERSCHMANN: I don't remember specifically. I mean, I think she was uncomfortable over the fact that there was obviously that type of interaction between the two of them.
- Something to the effect-- this is-- the wording is wrong-- I made the wrong decision four or five years ago.
- And the word that she relayed to, that the president called the vice president-- I apologize for being impolite-- but do you remember what she said her father called him?
JULIE RADFORD: The p-word.
PETE AGUILAR: Mr. Jacob, how would you describe the demeanor of the vice president following the call-- following that call with the president?
GREG JACOB: When he came back into the room, I'd say that he was steely, determined, grim.
PETE AGUILAR: Of course--