On the campaign trail, I get asked a lot of awkward questions: “How did it feel when Trump’s supporters wanted to hang you?”; “What was your plan if they started to hang you?”; “Did you not get in the Secret Service’s car because you worried they’d take you somewhere they could string you up?”; “If it had to happen, what did you want to be hanged from?”
These are challenging and important questions, but I’m here to tell you it’s unfair to paint the January 6 demonstrators with such a broad brush. A wide-ranging collection of people with many different beliefs was involved that day. Yet, in what should come as no surprise, you wouldn’t know it from the slanted coverage.
Does the media mention that some wanted to shoot me in the face? They do not. Or that some wanted to electrocute me? Nope. Have we seen a single New York Times story about how a sizable contingent wanted to saw me in half? Or even a Wall Street Journal editorial about giving me an enthusiastic curb-stomping? And don’t get me started on the TV shows. Has there been any CBS Sunday Morning segments about the man in a flak jacket who proposed boiling me alive? Or a sit-down with the delightful couple in sequined American flag capes who wanted me disemboweled and burned at the stake?
Of course, we’ve heard nothing of these stories. And I think this does the American people a disservice because so many innovative and informative ideas were debated that day. For instance, do you know what a breaking wheel is? No? Well, I do because an enthusiastic gentleman in a ghillie suit explained to me that America couldn’t heal as a country until I was tied to one.
And, yes, we’ve all heard the tapes of the chant, “Hang Mike Pence.” We’ve all seen the videos of the protestors in horned headdresses screaming in unison. We’ve all woken in the middle of the night, shaking in terror at the memory. But isn’t it curious how the media hasn’t played footage of other chants heard as those overenthusiastic Americans scaled the portico’s outer rim?
“Abuse the Hoosier!” “Flay the former DJ!” “Break the knees of the VP!” “Impale Pence on a Fence!” Not to mention the indelible, “Let’s brainstorm a way to incentivize rats to chew through the vice president’s chest because he won’t send the electoral votes back to the states!”
You say, “Mike, that stuff about the rats, that’s pretty gruesome business. Why aren’t you more upset about that?” And in response, I wave my hand dismissively and chuckle like a 1950s TV father. I was honored to be a part of the discourse that day. You see, democracy is messy. Sometimes people debate the pros and cons of health savings accounts. Sometimes people debate how best to roast you inside a giant metal statue shaped like a bald eagle.
And, see, even though these Americans had been led a bit off course by misinformation, that doesn’t change the fact that they were furious with me for not doing what President Trump wanted. But no matter how much I tried to weasel out of my responsibility to the republic, what President Trump wanted me to do violated the law. Unfortunately, the Constitution is very clear about the process for counting electoral votes.
On the other hand, the Constitution says nothing about:
- Deep frying a politician in a bathtub.
- Tying someone to one hundred professional-grade fireworks.
- Forcing a fellow to fight a tiger.
- Injecting a guy with energy drinks.
- Filling the Capitol reflecting pool with piranhas, then punting a former radio host into it.
- And it doesn’t say anything about people being drawn and quartered. (The thing in the Third Amendment about soldiers being quartered—that’s not about cutting them up.)
You say, “Mike, really, that all sounds pretty scary. Are you okay? I mean, really? Are you sure you aren’t just blocking out the psychological damage of what must have been an extremely traumatizing event?” And I say, “Don’t worry about me. I’m good.” See, the last thing I need to do is think more about how, on that historic day, the not-so-silent majority of my political party wanted me dead. My goal here is to harness the enthusiasm that existed to end my life and use it to propel myself into the White House, where I can fight for the people who wanted me slaughtered like a hog.
Admittedly, it’s a bit tricky.
I want to be president for all Americans, no matter what your position was on January 6. If you wanted to drop a piano on my head. If you wanted to drown me in banana pudding. If you wanted six clowns to beat me to death with pool cues. I still want to be your president.
I won’t hold it against you, and I won’t ask for your explanation. But I will ask you for your vote.