Trump revived a familiar insult when delivering Pence an ultimatum just before Capitol riot: report
A New York Times editorial details the heightened tension between Donald Trump and Mike Pence as a result of the vice president's refusal to go along with the dangerous ploy to invalidate the 2020 election results. It has been reported that Trump and Pence spoke during a number of meetings leading up to the electoral college certification.
People familiar with one of the intense conversations have revealed, at one point, Trump even gave Pence an ultimatum as he explained how history would view him in the years to come. "You can either go down in history as a patriot," Trump told the vice president, "or you can go down in history as a pussy."
The rift between the two White House officials escalated when Trump amplified his bullying of Pence in targeted tweets. He even went a step further by publicly challenging the vice president at his "Save America" rally as he encouraged his angry supporters to head to the U.S. Capitol and protest the outcome of the presidential election.
Some of Trump supporters leveled direct attacks at Pence, even chanting, "Hang Mike Pence." As Pence and other lawmakers were escorted to the Capitol building's basement during the deadly riots, Trump was tweeting more attacks instead of being concerned about his vice president's well-being.
All of this occurred even as Pence repeatedly explained that he does not have unilateral power to overturn the election. While John Yoo, a legal scholar advised by the vice president's office, admitted that Pence did have a choice, the vice president opted to remain on the right side of the Constitution.
"Pence had a choice between his constitutional duty and his political future, and he did the right thing," Yoo said. "I think he was the man of the hour in many ways — for both Democrats and Republicans. He did his duty even though he must have known, when he did it, that that probably meant he could never become president."
Many lawmakers have admitted they were relieved that Pence declined to entertain Trump's coup although they wish he would have denounced the president's actions sooner.
"There were many points where I wished he would have separated, spoke out, but I'm glad he did it when he did," said former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). "I wish he would have done it earlier, but I'm sure grateful he did it now. And I knew he would."
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