Some of the people who attacked the U.S. Capitol this week said they were searching for Vice President Mike Pence so they could bring him to a tree outside and hang him, a journalist on the scene during the siege says.
Jim Bourg, the pictures editor for Reuters who was inside the building as it was invaded by crowds of President Donald Trump’s supporters, said many seemed intent on killing Pence if they were able to locate him.
“I heard at least 3 different rioters at the Capitol say that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor. It was a common line being repeated. Many more were just talking about how the VP should be executed,” he tweeted.
Pence had become a target for many angry Trump supporters after he broke with Trump, saying he would not support an effort to challenge the Electoral College vote held on Wednesday. Trump had reportedly been pushing the idea that Pence, who oversaw the tallying process, could refuse to certify Biden’s election — a power that political experts said he did not possess. This week he put out a statement before the vote counting, saying he did not believe he had the power.
As The Associated Press reported, both Trump and Pence felt betrayed by the other in the days after the attack and his out-of-character break from Trump. As the report noted, Pence had been careful to avoid becoming a target for Trump during the close-to-four full years they served in office together, but it fell apart in the final days of their tenure.
“Pence’s decision to publicly defy Trump was a first for the notoriously deferential vice president, who has been unflinchingly loyal to Trump since joining the GOP ticket in 2016. Pence has spent his tenure defending the president’s actions, trying to soothe anxious world leaders put off by Trump’s caustic rhetoric, and carefully avoiding the president’s ire.”
Pence may not have been the only target for the attackers. White House reporter Andrew Feinberg noted on Twitter that some of the more organized rioters appeared to be well-prepared, carrying flex-cuffs and appearing to seek out top Democrats including Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Some were able to breach offices used by Pelosi and Schumer, though the lawmakers had reportedly been whisked to safety by that time.
As The Inquisitr reported, some of the extremists took to social media during the siege to share their efforts to search for Pence.