- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Former Vice President Mike Pence says he “parted amicably” with former President Donald Trump after a tumultuous end to their administration that included a January attack on the U.S. Capitol in which pro-Trump protesters shouted “Hang Mike Pence.”

Mr. Trump fired up the protesters that day after pressing Mr. Pence to send the electoral vote count back to the states instead of confirming the election.

“You can’t spend almost five years in the political foxhole with somebody without developing a strong relationship,” Mr. Pence told Fox News host Sean Hannity late Monday. “January 6 was a tragic day in the history of our country. But thanks to the efforts of the Capitol Hill police, federal officials, the Capitol was secured, and we finished our work.”

“The president and I sat down a few days later and talked through all of it,” he said. “I can tell you that we parted amicably at the end of the administration, and we have talked a number of times since we both left office.”

Mr. Pence said the media is using his relationship with Mr. Trump to drive a wedge between them, distract from President Biden’s fumbles and “demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans who believed we could be strong again and prosperous again and supported our administration in 2016 and 2020.”

Mr. Pence, a former congressman from Indiana, has downplayed any rift with Mr. Trump in remarks to GOP circles since he left office, focusing instead on criticism of Mr. Biden and his agenda.

The ex-vice president said that the chaotic exit from Afghanistan did not have to happen and that Mr. Biden emboldened the Taliban.

“Weakness arouses evil, Sean, and there’s no question that the weakness evidenced by the Biden administration — I would say beginning when they were silent when thousands of rockets were raining down on our cherished ally Israel from Hamas — sent signals into Afghanistan that we would not respond,” he said. “We have a president who is weak abroad but very content to be lecturing the American people about vaccine mandates.”

Mr. Pence also scolded Mr. Biden for pursuing a massive social welfare bill that could cost up to $3.5 trillion.

Warring Democrats are finding ways to pare back the package to satisfy moderates, but the price tag will likely remain in the millions, with new taxes on the wealthy and corporations to pay for it.

“We have got to dig in, tell the story of what they’re doing. I truly do believe that the voice of the American people can turn back this massive big government socialist bill,” Mr. Pence told Fox. “I am doing my level best.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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