An alarming revelation from a Republican senator on Wednesday night suggests that former President Donald Trump continued to incite his mob of loyalists during the Capitol breach on January 6 even after learning that his then-vice president’s life was in danger.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville revealed late on Wednesday to Politico that he had indeed spoken with Trump shortly after 2 pm on that day. The president had been trying to reach Tuberville in order to discuss with him the idea of objecting to certification of Electoral College results from the 2020 presidential election.
Tuberville informed Trump that then-Vice President Mike Pence was being evacuated from the Senate chamber. His words also implied that the entire Senate was under threat from the president’s mob of loyalists.
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“I said ‘Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go,'” Tuberville recounted.
Although it has been reported previously that Trump tried to reach Tuberville that day, accidentally calling Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) instead, the details of their conversation had not been revealed before Wednesday night. Now that call could possibly be used in the current Senate impeachment trial as further evidence of the fact that Trump was aware of what was unfolding at the Capitol after he incited his supporters to go there that day but did not care about the safety of lawmakers.
Indeed, just after Tuberville informed the former president that Pence was being evacuated, Trump issued a statement on his now-deleted Twitter account that continued to disparage his vice president for refusing to obstruct the process of certifying the Electoral College.
“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,” Trump wrote — falsely suggesting that the election results being certified were based on a fraudulent election, and wrongly expressing his opinion that the vice president had a constitutional power to stop the count when no such power exists.
That tweet came about at 2:24 pm — almost 10 minutes after the vice president was evacuated from the Senate, according to the timeline of events from that day, which means that the social media post was made after Trump had learned of the danger Pence was facing.
Trump did not make any statements calling on his supporters to stop their attack on the Capitol until after 4 pm, sending out a video on Twitter telling them that he loved them and that they should go home. Later that evening, Trump sent out another tweet, blaming the violence from that day on officials who wouldn’t acquiesce to his demands that they stop the certification process.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote. He also told his loyalists to “go home with love & in peace” in that same tweet, posted just shortly after 6 pm.
The new revelation that Trump continued to egg his supporters on, even after learning that lawmakers’ lives were endangered, is a startling one and may well be included in arguments being made by House impeachment managers during Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate this week. Indeed, Kyle Cheney, the congressional reporter who initially reported on Tuberville’s comments, expressed the importance of this new information in a tweet that same evening.
“Seems significant that a senator is acknowledging telling Trump *directly* that Pence was under threat, and Trump still didn’t say anything publicly about it,” Cheney said.