'Just shocked': Jan. 6 committee member goes off on 'disingenuous' Pence
Mike Pence (Photo by Ryan Kelly for AFP)

You likely missed Mike Pence’s CNN townhall earlier this week, but Jan. 6 committee member Elaine Luria sure didn’t.

“I was just shocked,” the Virginia Democrat told Raw Story of Pence’s primetime appearance. “Even his tone of voice and his cadence just seems so disingenuous and not sincere.”

To kick off the rollout of his new book, Pence started the week telling CBS he rejected the Jan. 6 committee’s request for his testimony. Luria says that’s revisionist history.

“We actually didn't pursue him testifying. We appreciated the very early and very open cooperation of his senior staff. We did not explicitly pursue him, because we felt that we had received comprehensive and reliable information from his most senior staff,” Luria told Raw Story.

Even as Pence is central to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, his testimony was never seen as vital, according to Luria. The committee’s already heard—and presented—testimony from a myriad of sources who painted a stark contrast between Trump’s inaction and Pence’s assertiveness that day.

“I think the committee has been very factual and also very complimentary of the former vice president's actions of doing the right thing on that day. I don't understand his motives for trying to kind of have both sides,” Luria said.

That’s why this is such a departure from how Luria and the eight other members of the Jan. 6 committee have portrayed Pence over their nine public hearings. The former VP has been presented as a national hero who defied ego-driven peer pressure and protected America from a coup fomented by then-President Donald Trump, his supporters, and senior figures in the GOP.

The Virginia Democrat now accuses Pence of being a part of a growing GOP trend of moving past the events of Jan. 6 without ever addressing the insurrection itself.

“I think they're gonna try to pretend Donald Trump didn't happen. I mean, look at our lieutenant governor of Virginia,” Luria said of Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears who chaired Black Americans to Re-elect the President in 2022 but who threw him under the bus after the midterms proved a disaster for the GOP. “Now it's like, ‘Who is that guy? I never heard of him before.’”

Luria’s not giving Earle-Sears or other Republicans a pass.

“I think that people who are complicit in promoting the Big Lie, like, they should be held accountable,” Luria said. “Of course, the quicker people abandon Trump—you know, rats jump off a sinking ship, right?—the better for the country, but I think that it's just kind of hypocritical that they can act, at this point, like nothing ever happened.”

Luria just lost her reelection bid—the only Virginia incumbent to lose this cycle, even after the GOP took aim at a handful of Democratic seats—in part, for standing by her principles and serving on the Jan. 6 committee, as opposed to running 24/7 for reelection, which is what many of her colleagues in competitive seats (who survived the midterms) did.

While she won’t have a seat in Congress come 2023, Luria knows the makeup of the new Republican House majority, and she says it’s obvious the GOP is already sprinting in the opposite direction of most Americans.

“I think the voters sent them a signal in the midterms that, like, crazy is not going to prevail, and I actually think that the Republican House members—the ones that are still here who are in safe districts—they haven't gotten the signal,” Luria said. “But that is the signal the American people sent in this election.”