Trump Says 'Real Insurrection' Happened on Election Day, Praises Pence's Jan. 6 Comments

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol as a "day of protesting" and said the "real insurrection" happened on November 3, the day of the 2020 election.

In June, after failing to garner support from Republicans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formed a select committee to investigate the events of January 6. Criticizing the move as a partisan play, Trump has railed against the two Republicans Pelosi appointed to the committee, calling them RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) and dismissing the probe as a "witch hunt" against him.

In his statement on Wednesday, Trump said the committee should conclude that the "real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the presidential election." January 6, he said, was a "day of protesting the fake election results."

Trump maintains that he won the 2020 presidential election but has yet to provide any evidence that shows widespread fraud occurred that would have changed the outcome. Amid rumors of a 2024 presidential run, the former president continues to push for "fixing" the 2020 election, which he believes could have been done if former Vice President Mike Pence had stepped in.

donald trump pence january 6
Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday the "real insurrection" happened on Election Day, not January 6, the day of the U.S. Capitol riot. Above, Trump speaks at a September 25 rally in Perry, Georgia. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

The former president pushed Pence to overturn the election by sending the results back to the states. Pence refused to do so, saying his constitutional duty was to oversee the electoral process and hear legitimate objections. The sticking point between the two men has made Pence the target of Trump's criticism, but on Wednesday he praised the former vice president for downplaying the Capitol riot.

"Vice President Mike Pence's statement during his interview with the great Sean Hannity very much destroys and discredits the Unselect Committees Witch Hunt on the events of January 6th," Trump said in a statement.

On Monday night, Pence told Sean Hannity of Fox News that January 6 was a "tragic day in the history" of the Capitol. However, he criticized the media's focus on the events as a "distraction" from what he sees as President Joe Biden's failed agenda.

"They want to use that one day to try and demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans who believe we could be strong again and prosperous again and supported our administration in 2016 and 2020," Pence told Hannity.

Pence has received criticism for his comments, especially in light of the rioters' "Hang Mike Pence" messages, and some critics saw his remarks as a way to win points with Trump and smooth things over with their voter base.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and charged for their involvement in the January 6 riot, and some have even said Trump's comments about the election fueled their participation. Trump has denied he had anything to do with the Capitol assault, but part of the committee's investigation is looking into the former president and former members of his administration.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Steve Bannon and communications director Dan Scavino were all notified of subpoenas to turn over documents, with a deadline of Thursday. Their depositions are scheduled for October 14 and 15.

In September, Trump characterized the letters as "harassment subpoenas" and vowed to "fight the subpoenas on executive privilege and other grounds for the good of our country."

He continued, "Hopefully the Unselect Committee will be calling witnesses on the Rigged Presidential Election of 2020, which is the primary reason that hundreds of thousands of people went to Washington, D.C. in the first place."