In the middle of the mob attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Donald Trump attacked Mike Pence in a tweet. At that point, we learned Wednesday, Pence and his family had still not been evacuated to a safe location.
The timestamp on Trump’s tweet, 2:24 p.m. ET, came two minutes before Pence and his wife and daughter were evacuated to a safe location still within the Capitol.
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” Trump tweeted.
Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VA) noted the evacuation during the impeachment trial Wednesday.
“While all of this was going on, Vice President Pence was still in the room near the Senate chamber,” she said. “It wasn’t until 2:26 that he was evacuated to a secure location.”
Crucially, the Trump attack came after it was clear — to him, to the entire world — that the Capitol was under violent attack by his supporters, the impeachment managers argued.
“Even when President Trump knew what his words were causing, he didn’t do any of those things to stop the crowd,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) said. “In fact, he did the opposite. He fueled the fire.”
Castro cued up a video clips of rioters seemingly responding to Trump’s tweet: One man read the tweet through a megaphone, others called Pence a “traitor” and a “bitch.” “Mike Pence, we’re coming for you too, you fucking traitor!” one man inside the Capitol said.
“Mike pence is not a traitor to this country,” Castro said after the video clips. “He’s a patriot. And he and his family, who was with him that day, didn’t deserve this, didn’t deserve a president unleashing a mob on them. Especially because he was just doing his job.”
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The impeachment managers have stressed that Pence and Republicans in Congress were the targets of the mob. Trump singled out Pence several times that day and in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, and his tweet during the attack itself named his vice president as the mob’s rightful target.
In one YouTube video cited in federal court records, an alleged rioter recalled, “Once we found out Pence turned on us and that they had stolen the election, like officially, the crowd went crazy. I mean, it became a mob.”
At one point, rioters on the Capitol’s east side started a chant: “Hang Mike Pence!”