With new book, Pence misrepresents himself as brave in Jan. 6 uprising

Former Vice President Mike Pence is looking like a bad penny this week, selling his new book while trying – once again – to redefine himself as a brave figure when all hell broke loose at the Capitol on January 6. 2021.

Pence told a network television interviewer Monday night that he felt the heat from Donald Trump and the incumbent president’s riotous supporters, who wanted Pence to blow up the Congressional Electoral College certification process on January 6 in the purpose of nullifying the results of the November 2020 election.

“I turned to my daughter, who was standing next to me, and said, ‘It doesn’t take courage to break the law. It takes courage to uphold the law,” Pence said in his first television interview since the insurgency.

But there’s something else that would take real courage — and we encourage the suddenly talkative Pence to do it: Testify openly and honestly before the House Jan. 6 committee.

Votes are still being counted in several congressional races starting in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, so there’s a good chance the bipartisan committee — which has not subpoenaed Pence — will be disbanded if the Democrats lose. their majority in the House. But by speaking publicly to the committee, if he remains in place, Pence could shed light on Trump’s White House actions and conversation ahead of the day of the uprising.

He could detail what he said, thought and did when rioters outside the Capitol, encouraged by Trump, not only threatened to hang Pence, but actually erected a fake gallows to underscore the threat.

Hearing directly from the former vice president would benefit the country far more than a media book tour, or Pence’s transparent attempts to part ways with the increasingly unpopular Trump while praising him, perhaps in a confused attempt – and probably chimerical – to seek the presidency.

‘You don’t know what position I’m in’

According to The New York Times, Pence told aides he didn’t like the idea that the proceedings would potentially lead to possible criminal referrals against Trump to the Justice Department. In doing so, it turns its back on elucidating the terrifying events of that day, which left five people dead and nearly 150 police officers beaten and assaulted while trying to protect the Capitol.

He remains largely silent, knowing that the lives of the country’s political leaders – including his own – have been put in danger during the violent siege.

Too bad for that “it takes courage to enforce the law” of jazz.

But again, it’s classic Pence. On January 6, he should have stood up and publicly repudiated the actions of that day.

He should have walked away from the president and given the American people a full-throated defense of democracy, emphasizing that the election was not stolen and openly renouncing those trying to take control of the Capitol.

Instead, according to the 2021 book “Peril,” by Robert Costa and Bob Woodward, Pence contacted former Vice President Dan Quayle, seeking a way to acquiesce to Trump’s wishes.

“You don’t know what position I’m in,” Pence told Quayle, according to the book.

“I know the position you’re in,” Quayle replied. “I also know what the law is. You listen to the parliamentarian [the expert on congressional authority]. That’s all you do. You have no power.

In his own book, “So Help Me God,” Pence denied calling Quayle to find ways to help Trump. He claims that his decision was made before the appeal.

Still, Pence had his moment on Jan. 6 and the days that followed to show he was a true leader — and missed it.

Now he wants credit (and book sales) for doing what he was supposed to. The real reward for courage, however, goes to those like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, House committee members who challenged the rest of their party to speak out against the insurrection — and lost their standing in the party for having do the right thing.

If Pence wanted the limelight and praise of a hero, he should have followed their lead.

The Sun-Times welcomes letters to the editor and editorials. See our guidelines.

Angela C. Hale