Nov 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Barrasso declines to criticize Trump for defending threats to "hang" Pence

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), during an interview on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, declined to criticize former President Trump's apparent defense of Jan. 6 rioters who threatened to "hang" former Vice President Mike Pence.

Driving the news: The Wyoming Republican's remarks come after the former president, in a taped interview with ABC News' Jonathan Karl that was shared with Axios, said it was "common sense" for his supporters to threaten the vice president.

What they're saying: "I don't agree with President Trump on everything," Barrasso told host George Stephanopoulos when asked about Trump's comment. "I agree with him on the policies that have brought us the best economy in my lifetime, and I'm going to continue to support those policies."

  • "President Trump brings lots of energy to the party. He's an enduring force."

The exchange:

Stephanopoulos: So he says "hang Mike Pence" is common sense. Can your party tolerate a leader who defends murderous chants against his own vice president? 
Barrasso: Well, let me just say the Republican Party is incredibly united right now, and it's because of the policies of this administration, and I think the more that the Democrats and the press becomes obsessed with President Trump, I think the better it is for the Republican Party. 
President Trump brings lots of energy to the party. He's an enduring force. Elections are about the future, not the past, and that's what we saw in Virginia and all across the country, and the Republican policies and the Trump policies of a strong economy and American energy, not begging Vladimir Putin to produce more oil, which is what Joe Biden is doing, those are policies that we're going to continue to run on in the future. 
Stephanopoulos: So, you have no problem with the president saying "hang Mike Pence" is common sense? 
Barrasso: I was with Mike Pence in the Senate chamber during Jan. 6, and what happened was they quickly got Vice President Pence out of there, certainly a lot faster than they removed the senators. I believed he was safe the whole time. I didn't hear any of those chants. I don't believe that he did either, and Vice President Pence came back into the chamber that night and certified the election. 
Stephanopoulos: Well, we just played the chants. I'm asking you if you believe — if you can tolerate — the president saying "hang Mike Pence" is common sense. 
Barrasso: It's not common sense. There are issues of every election. I voted to certify the election, and what we have seen on this election, there are areas that needed to be looked into, like what we saw in Pennsylvania. We all want fair and free elections. That's where we need to go for the future. 
Stephanopoulos: But you're not going to criticize President Trump for those views? 
Barrasso: I don't agree with President Trump on everything. I agree with him on the policies that have brought us the best economy in my lifetime, and I'm going to continue to support those policies and continuing to work to stop what Joe Biden is doing to this country, which I believe is almost irreversibly bad. 

Go deeper: Exclusive audio: Trump defends threats to "hang" Pence

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