The follow-up books to the Trump administration keep yielding more evidence of an unorthodox presidency, to say the very least. Particularly during Trump’s bid to maintain power, the meltdowns kept coming, according to Jonathan Karl’s new book, Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump, which revealed Trump’s threat to quit the GOP and how his Tulsa COVID rally was even more of a sh*tstorm than previously reported. Now, we’re learning that those “hang Mike Pence” chants didn’t worry Trump at all while the insurrection happened. Yikes.
Karl interviewed Trump with a direct inquiry on whether Trump worried about Pence’s safety during the failed MAGA coup. And you guessed it, Trump wasn’t even slightly concerned, despite many of the insurrectionists harboring more violent intents than the Q’Anon Shaman (who claimed that he protected Senate muffins from theft). Rather, Trump appeared to think that those chants were justifiable because “people were very angry,” and “it’s common sense” for the rioters to want “to protect” because Pence decided to certify the electoral vote. From the Axios transcript:
Jonathan Karl: “Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?”
Trump: “No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No because uh I had heard he was in very good shape.”
Karl: “Because you heard those chants, that was terrible. I mean, you know, those–”
Trump: “He could have — well, the people were very angry… Jon, it’s common sense, that you’re supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?”
Somehow, this actually doesn’t feel too surprising, considering the flat tone and apparent apathy (to loss of life) that we watched Trump display throughout the pandemic. That makes Axios’ “Why it matters” section on this story particularly surreal: “Well, it is unprecedented for a former president to openly say it was OK to threaten the life of his vice president.” And yep, that nails it.