Mike Pence Allegedly Refused To Do This During The Capitol Riot

On January 6, 2021, as Congress prepared to certify Joe Biden as the next president, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building in protest of the election results, fighting off Capitol police and defiantly posing inside the building as terrified Congress members took cover. It was a terrifying scene that left many wondering about the future of the country's democracy.

One surprising target of the protesters' rage was Mike Pence. The then-vice president had been a loyal ally to Donald Trump during his presidency, but as president of the Senate, it was his responsibility to supervise the tallying of the electoral college votes that would certify Joe Biden as the next president (via NBC News). Trump reportedly demanded that Pence stop the certification, but Pence responded that he didn't have that authority (via Newsweek). Trump accused him of not having the "courage to do what should have been done," and his supporters at the riot agreed. They erected gallows on the grounds of the Capitol, per NBC, and led a chant of "Hang Mike Pence!" 

Pence, his wife, daughter, and brother were all in the Senate chamber when the Capitol was breached. They took cover in his office, but his Secret Service detail felt they weren't safe enough there. That's when Pence reportedly did something surprising.

Mike Pence refused to leave the Capitol before the votes were read

According to the new book "I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year," Mike Pence's lead Secret Service agent, Tim Giebels, asked Pence twice to evacuate the U.S. Capitol building for his own safety (per Newsweek). Pence refused, reportedly saying that it would "vindicate their insurrection" if the rioters were to see him leaving the building before the electoral votes were counted. 

The book goes on to explain that Giebels escorted Pence and his family to "a secure subterranean area that rioters couldn't reach," where Pence's armored limousine was ready to leave. Giebels reportedly asked Pence to get into the limo and wait out the riot there, but once again, the vice president refused, suspecting he would be removed from the building. "I trust you, Tim, but you're not driving the car," he allegedly said. "If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off. I'm not getting in the car."

And so Pence remained, where he finally completed his duties that evening after the protesters had left and Congress reconvened to certify Biden (via Bloomberg).

In a November interview with ABC News, Donald Trump was asked whether he was concerned for his vice president's safety during the insurrection. He replied, "No. I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape." He then went on to defend his supporters' death-threat chants because "the people were very angry" that Pence didn't try to reverse the election results (via Axios).