Trump's words 'endangered' Americans before US Capitol riot, Pence says

Former president Donald Trump's inflammatory words before and during last year's US Capitol insurrection endangered Americans including his own deputy Mike Pence, the former vice president said in a television interview set to air Monday.

"The president's words that day at the rally (before the riot) endangered me and my family and everyone at the Capitol," Pence told ABC News.

Pence reportedly is laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 2024. It would pit him against his former boss, who has convened the media to his palatial Florida home on Tuesday night reportedly to announce his own White House bid.

Pence's interview to be broadcast on ABC's "World News Tonight" coincides with the release Tuesday of his memoir, "So Help Me God."

The veteran Republican told the network that Trump, speaking on January 6, 2021 at a park near the White House, incited the crowd before it marched toward the Capitol: "The president's words were reckless. It was clear he decided to be part of the problem."

Pence said he was "angered" when he read a Trump tweet that day asserting that the vice president "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done" to keep Trump in office by blocking Congress's certification of Joe Biden's 2020 election victory.

"I turned to my daughter, who was standing nearby, and I said, 'It doesn't take courage to break the law. It takes courage to uphold the law,'" Pence told the network.

The vice president was on Capitol Hill at the time, and US Secret Service officers evacuated him from the US Senate chamber where he narrowly avoided an encounter with rioters who had stormed into the complex.

Pence has largely kept mum about his interactions with Trump in the run-up to the January 6 mob attack -- until this month.

In an excerpt from his memoir, published last week by the Wall Street Journal, Pence said he spoke with Trump by phone on New Year's Day 2021 and conveyed his refusal to take part in a plan to keep Trump in power.

"'You're too honest,'" Pence said Trump told him. "Hundreds of thousands are gonna hate your guts.... People are gonna think you're stupid.'"

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