INDIANAPOLIS — Former Vice President Mike Pence chose 13News as his first Indiana television interview to talk about his new book, "So Help Me God." In it, Pence details the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capital.
"January 6 was a tragic day. I'll always believe that by God's grace, I did my duty that day to uphold my oath to the Constitution," said Pence. "I was angry. As I looked at those scenes. Not this. Not here. Not in America. But, in the midst of all of that, I tried to put that anger aside. I tried to put my differences with the president that day aside and work the problem.
"When a tweet came across around 2 o'clock that the president sent out saying that I lacked courage, it was clear to me that he decided to be part of the problem. I was determined to be part of the solution," said Pence.
Then-President Donald Trump reportedly said Pence would go down as a wimp.
"It angered me, and it saddened me. President Trump wasn't just my president, he was my friend," said Pence. "The President made no effort to reach out to me on January 6 and the days after. And I made no effort to reach out to him."
The former vice president writes in his book that the two men eventually held a 90-minute meeting in the White House about the Capitol riot.
"It was our last meeting at that small dining room off the Oval Office. (Trump) then asked me, 'Was I scared?' And, I said no. I was angry. I alluded to the differences that he and I had, and I also said seeing those people ransacking our Capitol, Mr. President, infuriated me," said Pence.
13News anchor Scott Swan asked Pence if he had forgiven the former president for questioning his courage and calling him names.
"As a Bible-believing Christian, forgiveness is not optional," said Pence. "In the immediate aftermath of January 6, I reflected on that verse, 'Be quick to listen, slow to speak. Be slow to become angry.' But I also thought of those passages of the Lord's Prayer. I try to pray every day, 'forgive those who trespass against us. Forgive as God forgave you.'"
"I've prayed to forgive the president. I still do. I pray for him and his family. I wish them well. But I do believe we'll have better choices to lead our party and lead our nation in the months and years ahead," said Pence.
"I'll always be proud of the record of the Trump/Pence administration. I'll never stop fighting to advance those common-sense conservative principles that are so typical across the Hoosier State," said Pence. "But I'll always believe on that day in January of 2021, we did our duty. We kept our oath to the American people and to almighty God."
Pence said he will not testify for the January 6 committee.
"I was very concerned about the partisan nature of the committee from early on," said Pence. "The very idea of a congressional committee entirely appointed by one party in the Congress was antithetical to my understanding of how Congress was supposed to work."
"I didn't stand in the way of members of my senior staff cooperating and even testifying before the committee. As I've made it clear, Congress has no right to my testimony," said Pence. "I believe to have a vice president summoned before the Congress to testify about private deliberations at the White House would set a terrible precedent."
Pence reflected on the recently completed 2022 midterm elections.
"I would have liked to see our party do better around the country," said Pence. "We had a great candidate up in northwest Indiana in Jennifer-Ruth Green. She's an inspiring woman. I would have liked to see her be elected. But, as I liked to say, a win is a win."
"We won a majority in the House of Representatives," said Pence. "The challenge in the next two years is to take our case to the American people as a party, to go out to lead in the Senate, in statehouses, and ultimately in the White House again."
The former vice president said he will discuss whether or not to run for president when his family gathers during the holidays, with a decision in January.
"I'm humbled to be asked. We've been asked a lot," said Pence. "Karen and I are going to give it serious consideration. My family hasn't been together for three years with a son in the Marine Corps, a son-in-law in the Navy. Deployments have kept us apart at our holidays. But this year, we'll all be together."
"We'll do as we've always done. To take time after all these years that I recount in my book, 'So Help Me God,' where we make the decision with three small children to step up and run for Congress and made the decision to run for governor of Indiana. Made the decision to join the national ticket. It's something we always try to do as a family, carefully, prayerfully, discern what our calling is. But we'll make a decision sometime after the first of the year."
If he decides to run, Pence told me what it would take to become the Republican nominee and beat former President Donald Trump.
"I think we'll have better choices in 2024. We'll discern as a family if we want to be one of those choices and feel called to that," said Pence. "Whatever my future holds for us, we're going to stay focused on our faith, focused on our family. We're going to seek to carry ourselves in the public debate as an advocate or a candidate in a way that honors God. We'll just trust him for the balance."
"I think people long to see leadership that unites our country around our highest ideals and also demonstrate the kind of civility and respect that most Americans show each other every day," said Pence. "We're used to that in Indiana. Hoosiers have the ability to disagree without being disagreeable. I've always said when I was Indiana governor that Hoosiers have strong opinions and strong hearts. I think that's true of most Americans. I'm very optimistic about the future."