Pence Refuses to Grant Pardons to Jan. 6 Defendants, Says Trump Indictment's Detrimental Impact
Former Vice President Mike Pence announced during a CNN town hall in Des Moines, Iowa on June 7 that he will not grant pardons to any of the individuals who have been charged for their involvement in the January 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
This statement came as Pence officially entered the 2024 presidential race and criticized President Joe Biden and the "radical left" for weakening the United States both domestically and internationally. In his town hall appearance, Pence aimed to distance himself from former President Donald Trump on various issues, including the events of January 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and government spending.
Pence made it clear that he would not follow Trump's suggestion to pardon the individuals arrested and charged for their roles in the Capitol breach. He emphasized his stance on the matter, stating that on the day of January 6, he issued a tweet demanding people to leave the Capitol and end the violence. He called for those who failed to do so to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, a position he maintains to this day.
Highlighting the importance of safeguarding democracy, Pence emphasized that the events of January 6 should never be allowed to occur again in the heart of American democracy. He expressed his commitment to respecting the decisions and due process of the court and the country's laws. Pence firmly stated that he has no interest or intention of pardoning those who assaulted police officers or vandalized the Capitol, asserting that they must be held accountable for their actions.
In contrast, former President Donald Trump, during his own CNN town hall in New Hampshire in May, expressed his inclination to pardon many of the individuals charged with crimes related to the January 6 breach. Trump indicated that while he couldn't say for certain for every single person, he would likely pardon a large portion of them if he were to be reelected as president. He expressed sympathy for those charged, stating they were currently living in hell.
According to the Department of Justice, more than 1,000 individuals across nearly all 50 states have been charged in connection with the breach of the Capitol building. Among these charges, almost 350 people were specifically charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.
Pence's announcement regarding pardons showcases his divergence from Trump's stance on this issue. As the 2024 presidential race gains momentum, it remains to be seen how these contrasting positions will shape the political landscape moving forward.