Former Vice President Mike Pence
said Thursday that he was "proud" of his role in certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election
on Jan. 6, after supporters of then-President Donald Trump
stormed the United States
Capitol in an attempt to prevent the Electoral College
process from concluding.
Pence made the remarks at an event at the Ronald Reagan
Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California
, on Thursday night, departing sharply from Trump's rhetoric, which has continued to deny that he lost the popular vote by more than 7 million votes
and the Electoral College tally by 306 to 232.
“I will always be proud that we did our part on that tragic day to reconvene Congress
and fulfill our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States,” Pence said as part of a series of talks with prominent Republicans
, according to the Los Angeles
His remarks come amid the ongoing fallout from the Jan. 6 attack
, which saw enraged Trump supporters
storm the halls of Congress, some of whom were heard chanting threats such as "Hang Mike Pence." Trump spent the weeks following his 2020 election
defeat claiming, without evidence, that widespread voter fraud cost him the election.
That message has stuck with Trump voters
, and the former vice president was heckled as he took the stage earlier this month at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's annual conference, with some attendees calling him a "traitor."
Although Trump has strongly hinted that he is still interested in the White House
, Pence is seen as a likely candidate for the Republican nomination in 2024 to challenge President Joe Biden
. The former president has maintained a firm grip on the GOP
despite his defeat, and many of Pence's talking points on Thursday were key features of the Trump administration
Pence, on the other hand, has distanced himself from Trump in recent weeks, saying earlier this month that he wasn't sure they'd ever see "eye to eye" on the events surrounding the insurgency, a rare break after the former vice president spent years as a staunch supporter of his boss.
“As I said that day, Jan. 6 was a dark day in the history
of the United States Capitol, but thanks to the swift action of Capitol Police
and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled,” Pence said at the time at a Republican dinner. “You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office. And I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day.”
Pence said on Thursday that he understood Trump supporters were disappointed with the 2020 election results, but he urged Republicans to support the nation's institutions.
“I understand the disappointment many people
feel about the last election,” Pence said, “but there is more at stake than our party and our political fortunes right now; if we lose faith in the Constitution, we will lose our country, not just elections