Former Vice President Mike Pence said Donald Trump is “entitled to the presumption of innocence” after the former president was indicted in the special counsel’s 2020 election interference probe.
Pence added, however, that “anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States.”
“I really do believe that anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States. And anyone who asks someone else to put themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again. I’ve been very forthright about this issue,” the 2024 Republican presidential candidate told reporters after an economic speech at the Indiana State Fair on Wednesday.
Pence said in “regard to the substance of the indictment, I’ve been very clear I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this.” The former vice president said he “had hoped that this issue and the judgment of the president’s actions would be left to the American people.”
He added that he cannot assess whether “the government has the evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt what they assert in the indictment.” Pence said that Trump is “entitled to a presumption of innocence but for my part, I want people to know that I have no right to overturn the election.”
Recalling January 6, 2021, Pence said:
“Sadly, the president was surrounded by a group of crackpot lawyers who kept telling him what his itching ears wanted to hear.”
Pence defended his actions on January 6, 2021, and said that while he made his case to Trump that he had no right to overturn the 2020 election results, the former president “ultimately continued to demand that I choose him over the Constitution.”
Pence went on to say that the country and Constitution are more important “than any one man’s career — and that’s true of me, and that’s true of the president, former president of the United States.”
He said that he would “stand by what happened that day, the stand that we took and trust ourselves to the judgment of Republicans voters and ultimately, the American people.”
Pence said that he “has nothing to hide” when he was asked whether he would testify in any criminal trial related to this case but added that he doesn’t want to “prejudge” how the case may unfold.
And asked if he learned anything new from the indictment, Pence said, “I didn’t know anything about the efforts to secure fake electors in states around the country.”
“I learned about that after the fact. But again, I wish it didn’t come to this. It’ll be up to the government now to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this actually represented criminal activity,” he added.
In April, Pence testified before the grand jury hearing evidence in the 2020 election probe – the first time in modern history that a vice president has been compelled to testify about the president he served beside.
Trump posted about Pence on Truth Social Wednesday, saying he felt “badly” for his former vice president.
“I feel badly for Mike Pence, who is attracting no crowds, enthusiasm, or loyalty from people who, as a member of the Trump Administration, should be loving him,” Trump wrote, while also slamming Pence’s actions on January 6 and calling the indictment “fake.”