Former President Donald Trump on Friday denied calling then-Vice President Mike Pence “a wimp” for refusing to reject Electoral College votes — but said he told Pence instead that “you’re no Thomas Jefferson.”
Trump called Pence “a wimp” on the day of last year’s Capitol riot, former Trump aide Nick Luna told the House select committee investigating the riot, the panel revealed Thursday.
The ex-president didn’t respond to a separate allegation from Julie Radford, a former aide to first daughter Ivanka Trump, who said Trump called Pence the “p-word.”
“I never called Mike Pence a wimp,” Trump insisted in a speech to religious conservatives at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Nashville, Tenn.
“Mike Pence had a chance to be great,” Trump said. ”He had a chance to be, frankly, historic. But just like [former Attorney General] Bill Barr and the rest of these weak people, Mike — and I say it sadly because I like him — but Mike did not have the courage to act.”
Trump said that he sought to sway Pence to send electors back to swing state legislatures by likening the deed to founding father and then-vice president Thomas Jefferson’s actions in the 1800 election.
“I said to Mike, if you do this you can be Thomas Jefferson. And then after it all went down, I looked at him one day and I said, ‘Mike, hate to say this, but you’re no Thomas Jefferson,’” Trump said.
Trump slammed Pence for saying he had no right to reject state-certified electors.
“Mike was afraid of whatever he was afraid of. But as you heard a year and a half ago, Mike Pence had absolutely no choice but to be a human conveyor belt — he was a human conveyor belt, even if the votes were fraudulent,” Trump said.
The former president, who lost by narrow margins in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, said that if Pence attempted to reject electors, “I’m not sure — maybe the state legislatures wouldn’t have acted. But I think they would have.”
Trump also slammed the House select committee, which held a primetime hearing last Thursday and two daytime hearings this week, calling it a “one-sided witch hunt.”
Trump said that the committee is wrong to use the word “insurrection” to describe the riot, in which a mob of his supporters fought police officers for hours and broke into the Capitol to halt certification of President-elect Biden’s victory.
Trump said it actually was “a simple protest that got out of hand.”
“If it were an insurrection that took place at the Capitol, you would have known it very soon,” Trump said. “These were strong people. These are great patriots. They were policemen, they were firemen, there were soldiers, they were sailors.”
Trump attacked by name several members of the riot probe committee — calling Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) “Shifty Schiff” and “Watermelon Head,” describing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as a “warmonger” and mocking Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) as a “crier” who has a “mental disorder.”
Ahead of the Capitol riot, Trump addressed thousands of supporters near the White House and urged them to march on the Capitol to encourage Republican members of Congress and Pence to reject Biden electors. He told the crowd to “fight like hell” but also to go “peacefully and patriotically.”
Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, 36, was fatally shot by a police officer while attempting to climb through a busted-out window into the House Speaker’s Lobby. Three other Trump supporters died of medical emergencies during the riot and US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, 42, himself a Trump supporter, died of a stroke later after fighting off the rioters. Four cops and at least two accused rioters later died by suicide.
The Justice Department has criminally charged more than 800 people on a wide range of charges for taking part in the mayhem. Some rioters beat police officers, ransacked offices, stole government property — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern — and used fire extinguishers scattered throughout the historic building to spray or bludgeon authorities.