New report reveals Mike Pence was in even greater danger during the Capitol siege than we knew

New report reveals Mike Pence was in even greater danger during the Capitol siege than we knew

When a mob of far-right insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, their targets included not only Democrats but Vice President Mike Pence — who they believed had betrayed President Donald Trump by not preventing the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory. And according to the Washington Post, the rioters "came perilously close" to finding Pence that day.

In the Post, journalists Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnig, Paul Kane and Emma Brown report that Pence "was not evacuated from the Senate chamber for about 14 minutes after the Capitol Police reported an initial attempted breach of the complex — enough time for the marauders to rush inside the building and approach his location, according to law enforcement officials and video footage from that day."

Some of the extremists made no secret of their desire to harm Pence if they got to him. Groups of them were chanting, "Hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence" — and a hangman's noose was set up near the Capitol Building.

"Secret Service officers eventually spirited Pence to a room off the Senate floor with his wife and daughter after rioters began to pour into the Capitol, many loudly denouncing the vice president as a traitor as they marched through the first floor below the Senate chamber," the Post explains. "About one minute after Pence was hustled out of the chamber, a group charged up the stairs to a second-floor landing in the Senate, chasing a Capitol Police officer who drew them away from the Senate."

Many pundits at MSNBC and CNN have been emphasizing that as tragic as the Capitol Building siege was — at least five people have died — things could have been much more tragic if the rioters had been able to reach Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others they wanted to harm.

"If the pro-Trump mob had arrived seconds earlier, the attackers would have been in eyesight of the vice president as he was rushed across a reception hall into the office," according to the Post. "The proximity of the Jan. 6 mob to the vice president and the delay in evacuating him from the chamber — which have not been previously reported — raise questions about why the Secret Service did not move him earlier and underscore the jeopardy that top government leaders faced during the siege."

Pence, the Post notes, "was ultimately evacuated from his office off the Senate floor to a more secure location elsewhere in the Capitol complex," and it is "unclear exactly how long that took."

The conspiracy theory that Trump was deprived of a victory because of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election has been thoroughly debunked. Regardless, countless rioters believed the election was stolen from Trump, and they believed that Pence was complicit.

A rioter who has been charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct recalled, in a YouTube video, "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."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.