WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Mike Pence’s Secret Service detail feared for their lives so much that they began calling their family members to say goodbye as rioters bore down on them at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a White House security official.
From the moment rioters breached the Capitol until 13 minutes later when Pence’s Secret Service detail shuttled him and his family to a secure location, agents debated how to clear a route for him and whether they would be trapped in the vice president’s Senate office, the security official said in recorded testimony played by the House Jan. 6 select committee Thursday night.
“The members of the VP detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives,” the anonymous official, who was given cover for his safety, told the committee.
The official’s stunning testimony comes as the committee aims to show how former President Donald Trump failed to stop a violent mob of his supporters from storming the Capitol during the counting of electoral votes to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. The committee has held a series of hearings this summer examining Trump’s role in the Capitol attack.
The crowd was particularly angry at Pence, who faced an intense pressure campaign from Trump and his allies to block or delay the counting of electoral votes, which Pence refused to do. A tweet posted by Trump at 2:24 p.m. on Jan. 6 reportedly enraged the crowd, with some of the rioters calling for Pence to be hanged.
Pence had released a letter that day saying that no one person has the power to determine who will hold the office of president of the United States.