01 jan 6 fort mcnair
'See you in an hour': Stunning audio between Pence and Pelosi released
02:28 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence don’t see eye to eye on much of anything politically. They are not now, nor have they ever been — even during Pence’s time in Congress – allies or even friends.

And yet, on January 6, 2021 – when the US Capitol was under attack and rioters were chanting “Hang Mike Pence” – Pelosi did something so basic and so human that it speaks volumes about her: She worried for Pence’s well-being.

In footage obtained exclusively by CNN of Pelosi and other congressional leaders at Fort McNair, where they were whisked following the overrunning of the Capitol, a call between Pelosi and Pence was captured.

“I worry about you being in that Capitol room,” Pelosi told Pence, who at that point had been taken to a loading dock underneath the Capitol with his security detail. “Don’t let anybody know where you are.”

It’s a simple gesture, yes. A checking in. The sort of thing one does almost reflexively during a moment of crisis.

Pelosi’s decidedly human response to Pence stands in incredibly bright contrast to how Donald Trump related to Pence on that same day.

Remember that Trump had engaged in an extended pressure campaign on Pence to try to get the then-vice president to refuse to accept the Electoral College votes, an attempt to create chaos and sweep in with his false claims of a stolen election.

“If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency,” Trump had tweeted early that day, even though Pence had no authority to do what the then-President was asking. During his speech on January 6, Trump repeated that message: “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.”

And then, even after he had been made aware of the violence happening amid some elements of the crowd that day, Trump sent this tweet at 2:24 p.m.: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

Even as the situation turned more dire and Pence came within feet – literally – of rioters, Trump never reached out to check on his vice president once the violence broke out. Of the chants to hang Pence, Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified to the January 6 committee that Meadows had told White House counsel Pat Cipollone: “He thinks Mike [Pence] deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”

The contrast couldn’t be more stark. Pelosi didn’t have any sort of close relationship with Pence but, in a moment of crisis, was concerned for his well-being. Trump, who had picked Pence as his vice president and watched as the former Indiana governor played his loyal second fiddle for four years, did no such thing – and even repeatedly attacked Pence.

The message is clear: Trump was – and is – concerned only about himself. Pence was simply a means to his desired end. And when Pence became a problem, Trump had no qualms about cutting him loose.