Pence could have prevented Jan. 6, but his presidential ambitions got in the way: Lawrence O’Donnell
Mike Pence, photo by Gage Skidmore.

MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell harshly criticized Mike Pence for waiting so long to publicly announce he would not go along with Donald Trump's attempted coup.

O'Donnell discussed his perspective with Rachel Maddow during the handoff between their shows

"Good evening, Rachel," O'Donnell said. "We're gonna have Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA) joining us."

"He's a member of the committee and based on what you are saying a few minutes ago, I'm gonna ask him, if their investigation, talking to the Pence staff, did anyone explain to the committee why the day before Jan. 6, when Donald Trump put out a statement saying Mike Pence and I completely agree that Mike Pence has the authority to reject electors, why didn't Mike Pence immediately put out a statement saying, no this is my position?"

"Why did he wait until the next day, when the attack on the Capitol was already underway? O'Donnell wondered.

"Yes," Maddow replied. "I mean, he could've said 'I want everyone in America, including those who are coming to Washington tomorrow to support me and the president, I want everybody to be under no illusions. I do not have the power to throw out the election results, nor does any individual American as our forefathers said. and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow, and MAGA forever, but I'm not gonna do that."

O'Donnell suspects Pence did not issue such a statement due to his 2024 presidential campaign aspirations.

"On Dec. 19, Donald Trump summoned his troops to Washington for a rally on Jan. 6. That would have been a very good day for the vice president of the United States to announce that nothing can change the Electoral College count on Jan. 6," he explained. "Could've made that announcement on the day Donald Trump made the announcement that it will be a rally on Jan. 6, but Mike Pence decided not to tell Donald Trump, and Trump voters the truth, because Mike Pence was still clinging to the dream that someday, those Trump voters would be voting for Mike Pence for president."

"And so, he didn't want to be the bearer of bad news to see future voters," O'Donnell concluded.

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Lawrence O'Donnell