Mike Pence Refused to Get in Car With Secret Service During Capitol Riot: Book

Former Vice President Mike Pence refused to get into a car with Secret Service agents during the deadly Capitol riot on January 6, according to a book due to be released on Tuesday.

The claim is made by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker in their book I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year. An extract detailing the incident has been published by the Post.

According to the book, Pence twice refused to evacuate from the Capitol building on January 6 because he was concerned that the sight of his motorcade leaving could "vindicate" the rioters.

Leonnig and Rucker write that the former vice president was in his ceremonial office at the Capitol and was "protected by Secret Service agents, but vulnerable because the second-floor office had windows that could be breached and the intruding thugs had gained control of the building."

Pence was with his wife Karen, his daughter Charlotte and his brother, Rep. Greg Pence. They had been removed from the Senate chamber because of the breach at the Capitol.

"Tim Giebels, the lead special agent in charge of the vice president's protective detail, twice asked Pence to evacuate the Capitol, but Pence refused," the book says.

Pence reportedly told Giebels: "I'm not leaving the Capitol." He was concerned that his 20-car motorcade leaving would "vindicate their insurrection," Leonnig and Rucker add.

Giebels asked Pence to evacuate a third time but it was "more of an order than a request" as the agent believed Pence and his family were no longer safe where they were. They were evacuated down a staircase to an underground area of the Capitol. Pence's limousine was waiting for them, but the then vice president reportedly refused to get in.

The book goes on: "At 2:26, after a team of agents scouted a safe path to ensure the Pences would not encounter trouble, Giebels and the rest of Pence's detail guided them down a staircase to a secure subterranean area that rioters couldn't reach, where the vice president's armored limousine awaited. Giebels asked Pence to get in one of the vehicles. 'We can hold here,' he said."

Pence told Giebels: "I'm not getting in the car, Tim."

"I trust you, Tim, but you're not driving the car. If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off. I'm not getting in the car," he said.

The Pences went to a secure underground area to wait out the riot. At the White House, senior official Keith Kellogg reportedly discussed Pence with Tony Ornato, who "oversaw Secret Service movements."

Ornato told Kellogg that Pence's security detail was planning to move him to Joint Base Andrews but Kellogg told Ornato to leave Pence where he was because Pence was determined to stay and finish the job.

Through a spokesperson, Ornato told the book's authors that this conversation did not take place.

The former vice president returned to the Senate chamber later that day and oversaw the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Newsweek has asked Mike Pence's political advocacy group, Advancing American Freedom, for comment.

Mike Pence Speaks to a Crowd
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at an event in Columbia, South Carolina, on April 29. A new book about the final days of the Trump presidency says Pence did not want to leave the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 riot. Sean Rayford/Getty Images