Donald Trump Defends 'Hang Mike Pence' Chants: 'People Were Very Angry'

Former President Donald Trump appeared to defend those who chanted "Hang Mike Pence" on the day of the Capitol Riot on January 6 in newly released audio from an interview with ABC News' Jonathan Karl.

Axios shared a clip of the interview on Friday where Karl asked Trump about those chants and whether he was concerned for the former vice president's safety.

Pence reportedly hid in an underground loading dock during the storming of the Capitol.

Karl asked Trump about the "terrible" chants directed at Pence and the former president responded that "the people were very angry."

"They were saying 'hang Mike Pence,'" Karl said.

"Because it's common sense, Jon," Trump replied. It's common sense that you're supposed to protect. How can you—if you know a vote is fraudulent, right—how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?" Trump says in the audio clip.

Axios further quoted Trump as saying: "How can you do that?"

"And I'm telling you: 50/50, it's right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them. Anybody I spoke to—almost all of them at least pretty much agree, and some very much agree with me—because he's passing on a vote that he knows is fraudulent," Trump said.

"How can you pass a vote that you know is fraudulent? Now, when I spoke to him, I really talked about all of the fraudulent things that happened during the election. I didn't talk about the main point, which is the legislatures did not approve—five states," he said.

"The legislatures did not approve all of those changes that made the difference between a very easy win for me in the states, or a loss that was very close, because the losses were all very close," Trump said.

Trump has repeatedly made unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud and other irregularities in the 2020 presidential election. He has also criticized Pence for his decision not to support a plan to reject Electoral College votes on January 6.

The former president also told Karl he was not concerned about Pence's safety on January 6.

Before discussing the chants of "hang Mike Pence," Karl asked Trump: "Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?"

Trump replied: "No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape."

The excerpt shared by Axios is part of a 90-minute interview Karl conducted with the former president for his forthcoming book Betrayal, which will be published on Tuesday.

The interview took place at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where he is now resident, and more audio will air on on ABC's This Week on Sunday.

Newsweek has asked Donald Trump and Mike Pence's offices for comment

Update 11/12/21 06.55a.m. E.T.: This article was updated to include more information.

Trump and Pence Appear at the RNC
Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence give a thumbs up after speaking on the first day of the Republican National Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center on August 24, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Trump appeared to defend chants of "Hang Mike Pence" in a new interview. Chris Carlson-Pool/Getty Images