During a Sunday morning interview, Marc Short, the former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, pushed back against the Republican National Committee’s recent description of the seditious attack on the United States Capitol.
The Republican National Committee passed a resolution last week chastising GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney for participating in the House Select Committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, saying the two lawmakers were participating in “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
Though party leaders quickly attempted to clarify the language, insisting that they were not referring to the violent rioters, the censure itself made no such distinction. The resolution, along with former President Donald Trump’s larger attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, was the “latest and most forceful effort by the Republican Party to minimize what happened” on Jan. 6.
Short, who recently testified before the committee on January 6, first discussed Pence’s assertive rebuke of Trump’s insistence that the former vice president possessed the legal authority to reject and change the results of Trump’s election loss.
“Well, Chuck, as you mentioned, I believe Vice President Pence has commented on January 6 on several occasions,” Short told reporters. “And he extended those remarks a little bit this week to the Federalist Society, primarily because the president’s comments about the vice-president, I believe, merited a response.”
“Of course, nothing in the 12th Amendment or the Electoral Count Act would grant the Vice President that authority, which is why no Vice President in 200 years has ever used that authority,” he added. And it’s certainly not one that conservatives or Republicans would want Kamala Harris to be able to say she’ll reject votes in 2024.”
At the same time, while acknowledging that President Joe Biden was “duly elected” and that Pence couldn’t change the outcome of the election, the Pence aide did give lip service to Trump supporters’ unfounded and false claims of widespread voter fraud.
“I’m not convinced that all of the allegations out there were unfounded. “I’m not sure about that,” Short stated. “But, again, I believe the reality is that we are asking what the constitutional role of the Vice President of the United States is.” We are governed by the rule of law, not by the rule of men. In reality, he was following the provisions of the Electoral Count Act in the Constitution for the Vice President. He was carrying out his oath to defend the Constitution.”
Short recounted the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack, saying that Pence and his staff stayed at the Capitol the entire time to ensure that Congress completed the electoral count that night.
“They wanted to put the Vice President in a motorcade,” he explained. “But he said, ‘That’s not a visual I want the rest of the world to see of us fleeing the Capitol.'” And we stayed there and worked all night to put the business back together and finish the work.”
Short responded to some of the rioters’ infamous chants of “Hang Mike Pence,” saying that while it was a “tragic day” and the insurgency was a “unfortunate taint” on the Trump administration’s four-year record, he felt the press had “tarnished” all Trump supporters by associating them with the violent MAGA mob.
“The media wants to portray it as if there were only thugs at the Capitol that day,” he grumbled.
“Did you witness a lot of legitimate political debate that day?” Todd inquired in response, referring to the RNC resolution. “From my front-row seat, I didn’t see a lot of legitimate political discourse,” Short responded, adding, “But, to your question, you know—I, in talking to some members of the RNC, I think there is concern that there are people who were there peacefully protesting, who have been pulled into this—what I think has more become a prosecution by the January 6 committee—and feel like they’re being treated unfairly.”