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Pence says he doesn't know if he and Trump will "ever see eye-to-eye" about January 6 riot

Former Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd of Republican activists in New Hampshire on Thursday night that he doesn't know whether he and former President Trump will "ever see eye-to-eye" about the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Pence was at the Capitol overseeing the counting of the Electoral College votes when the mob of angry Trump supporters overran the Capitol, and he had to be evacuated from the Senate chamber.  

"January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol, but thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled, the Capitol was secured and that same day we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States," Pence said Thursday. "President Trump and I have spoken many times since we've left office and I don't know if we'll ever see eye-to-eye on that day, but I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years."

Pence spoke Thursday at a Hillsborough County Republican Party fundraiser in New Hampshire, the pivotal early primary state. It's his second trip to an early primary state, following a speech before a conservative Christian group at the end of April. In that speech, he only made one reference to the January 6 attack, calling it a "tragedy."

His remarks on Thursday came less than a week after Senate Republicans blocked a bill to create a commission to investigate the January 6 attack that left five people dead. Republicans were mostly unified in their opposition against the bill, but six senators voted to advance it. On Thursday, Pence accused Democrats of using the attack for political purposes.

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the annual Hillsborough County GOP Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Elise Amendola / AP

"I will not allow Democrats or their allies in the media to use one tragic day to discredit the aspirations of millions of Americans," Pence said. "Or allow Democrats or their allies in the media to distract our attention from a new administration intent on dividing our country to advance their radical agenda."

In his speech, Pence also highlighted the Trump administration's accomplishments on issues such as economy, immigration and foreign policy. He sharply criticized the Biden administration's first 130 days in office, saying Mr. Biden campaigned as a moderate, but governs "as the most liberal president since FDR." 

"They've proposed trillions of dollars in a so-called infrastructure bill that's just a thinly disguised climate change bill," Pence said. 

The former vice president also slammed Critical Race Theory, a frequent target of Republicans, and declared that "America is not a racist nation." He blamed Democrats for rising crime rates and said law enforcement needs to be respected.

"Black lives are not endangered by police, Black lives are saved by police every day," Pence said. "We don't need to defund the police, we need to defend the police."

Pence also touched on GOP efforts around the country to overhaul state voting laws. He blasted the federal bill, HR1, which has passed the Democratic-controlled House, as  national government overreach and said it's up to state lawmakers to write their own election laws. 

"We will defend state-based election reform, support Voter ID, and we're going to work every day to restore the confidence of every American in every vote," Pence said.

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