Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) on Sunday just could not bring himself to offer even a mild condemnation of Donald Trump’s full-throated defense of a bloodthirsty mob calling for the execution of Mike Pence.
When interviewing the ex-president for his upcoming book Betrayal, ABC News correspondent Jon Karl recently asked Trump if he was ever concerned for his then-vice president’s safety during the violent Jan. 6 Capitol riots. After Trump said “no” because Pence was “well-protected,” Karl noted many in the mob were chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” prompting the former president to respond that it was “common sense” because they were “very angry” over the election results.
Interviewing Barrasso on ABC’s This Week Sunday, George Stephanopoulos wondered aloud how the Republican Party could “tolerate a leader who defends murderous chants against his own vice president,” specifically noting that Trump said it was “common sense” to act in that way.
“Let me just say the Republican Party is incredibly united right now,” the Wyoming senator responded. “And it’s because of the policies of [the Biden] 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.”
Saying that Trump “brings lots of energy to the party” and is an “enduring force,” Barrasso added that “elections are about the future and not the past,” prompting the ABC News anchor to once again press the senator on the original question.
“So you have no problem with the president saying ‘Hang Mike Pence’ is ‘common sense?’” Stephanopoulos asked.
The Republican lawmaker, however, not only deflected but also seemed to provide a defense for Trump.
“I was with Mike Pence in the Senate chamber during January 6, and what happened was they quickly got Vice President Pence out of there, certainly a lot faster than they removed the senators,” he declared. “I believed he was safe the whole time. I didn’t hear any of those chants. I don’t believe that he did either.”
Pointing out that he had just played audio of the chants, the This Week host pressed Barrasso one more time on the subject, asking him if he and his party can tolerate the president saying it was “common sense” to hang a vice president.
“It’s not common sense,” Barrasso conceded before somewhat justifying Trump’s baseless “stolen” election rhetoric.
“There are issues every election, he said. “I voted to certify the election. What we’ve seen on this election, there are areas that needed to be looked into like what we saw in Pennsylvania. We all want free and fair elections, that’s where we need to go for the future.”
“But you’re not going to criticize President Trump for those views?” Stephanopoulos shot back.
“I don’t agree with President Trump on everything,” the senator shrugged. “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.”
The Wyoming senator brushing off Trump’s defense of a seditious mob possibly seeking to execute Pence comes on the heels of the GOP looking the other way after Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) tweeted out a cartoon of him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). While Republicans remain quiet on Gosar’s actions, many within the party are seeking to punish other GOP House members—for voting for the bipartisan infrastructure plan.