Pence on Trump calls for protests against indictment: ‘Violence will not be tolerated’
Former Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday that he considers the Manhattan district attorney’s potential indictment of former President Trump to be “deeply troubling” but emphasized that “violence will not be tolerated” as the former president calls for protests.
Trump said in a post to Truth Social that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday in connection with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s probe into a hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.
“The idea of indicting a former president of the United States is deeply troubling to me, as it is to tens of millions of Americans,” Pence told reporters in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. “And particularly happening in what appears to be a politically charged environment in New York where the attorney general and other elected officials literally campaigned on a pledge to prosecute the former president.”
“No one is above the law,” he added. “I’m confident President Trump can take care of himself.”
He joined a slew of other Republicans who slammed the potential indictment as “politically motivated” and an “abuse of power.”
“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted on Saturday.
However, amid Trump’s call for his supporters to protest and “take back our nation” in response to the possible indictment, Pence noted that “violence will not be tolerated.”
“We respect the right of Americans to let their voice be heard and to express the frustration over what appears to be a politically motivated prosecution of the former president,” he said. “But we want to send a very clear message that violence will not be tolerated and anyone that would engage in violence would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and longtime fixer, compared the former president’s call for protests on Saturday to the “battle cry” he put out before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“It would have been smart for Donald to write ‘peaceful protest,’ but he doesn’t want a peaceful protest,” Cohen told MSNBC. “He wants he wants another violent clash on his behalf.”
Cohen, who testified before the New York grand jury earlier this week, made the $130,000 payment to Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to quash her story of an alleged affair with Trump. He pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations in connection with the payment.