Did Trump Think His Mob Had Taken Pence Hostage?
What if Donald Trump actually hoped that his mob would murder Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?
What if he believed such a crime would create a crisis big enough to let him declare a state of emergency, shut down the government for a transition period through that emergency, and retain his position as President moving into the new year?
Senator Tommy Tuberville told Politico that he told Trump, “Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go,” but there’s no indication on the current public record that Trump understood that “they just took the vice president out” meant that Pence had been taken to safety.
“They…just took [him] out” could have been taken by Trump to mean the mob had taken Pence, just as easily as it could mean the Capitol Police had saved Pence from the mob.
It’s entirely possible Trump thought Tuberville was telling him that the mob had just seized Vice President Pence and was hustling him off to the sturdy gallows they’d built on the Capitol lawn.
In fact, Trump almost immediately tweeted, after talking to Tuberville: “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!”
That doesn’t sound like Trump’s relieved that Pence was just taken to safety, things would restart, and Joe Biden would be certified as president.
What if Trump believed that Pence had been “neutralized” at that point in the process of counting the electoral votes, that the count was stopped, and that Pence would soon be dead?
Could this tweet have been his call for his allies in Congress, now that the VP was out of the picture and they were in charge, to throw the count back to the House of Representatives, where in the past he had repeatedly asserted (probably correctly) that Republicans there would give him the presidency per the 12th Amendment like in 1876?
If that’s actually what Trump thought was happening, his phone call with Kevin McCarthy makes a lot more sense. McCarthy told Trump that the Capitol had been breached, that Trump’s mob was starting to break into his office, and pleaded with Trump to call off his mob.
Trump told McCarthy that the mob was more concerned about the outcome of the election then was McCarthy himself, something he probably wouldn't say if he thought that Pence had been taken to safety and the process certifying Joe Biden as president would soon resume.
Instead, if he believed that his mob was actually going to succeed at killing Pence and perhaps Pelosi, both his tweet, his comments to McCarthy and his conversation with Tuberville would come from the same piece of cloth: his belief that Pence would soon be dead, government would be paralyzed, and he could declare himself President For Life.
Another question is if Pence’s Secret Service detail had informed Trump’s Secret Service detail that Pence was hiding in a secret room in the Capitol, and they’d told Trump, was Trump’s bizarre tweet an order to the mob to, essentially, “search harder” to find the faithless Pence and take care of him so the vote could be thrown to his allies in the House?
Trump and his acolytes had, after all, on repeated occasions tweeted and liked ads and messages that said Trump would be president for 8, 12, and even 16 or more years.
Trump appointed a new Secretary of Defense immediately after the networks declared he’d lost the election, and that SecDef had issued a memo ordering the National Guard to essentially stand down in the event of violence on January 6th.
Along with numerous others, I wrote at length about this, including the SecDef’s memo forbidding the National Guard from even providing helmets or tear gas to the Capitol Police on January 6th without his specific permission, which he withheld for hour after hour as Pence was being hunted by the mob.
Now that 43 Republican senators have voted to let Trump off the hook, this “unusual” behavior by the Secretary of Defense, along with the troubling possibility that Trump actually intended for Pence to die, must be explored by Congress and the Justice Department.