Journalists, politicians, politicos, and pundits all release books. Every year, there’s a grocery store-sized list released and hawked on television. As part of that, many withhold juicy details until the PR campaign ahead of its release. With that said, it was quite the act of hypocrisy by ABC as Good Morning America denounced former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday for waiting until So Help Me God’s release to tee off on former President Trump over January 6.
Pence granted the first TV interview to ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir with excerpts having started trickle out on Sunday. A portion ran on GMA with Pence telling Muir that Trump’s words amid the riot “angered me” and, at the time, he told his daughter Charlotte that “it doesn't take courage to break the law; it takes courage to uphold the law.”
“I mean, the President's words were reckless. It's clear he decided to be a part of the problem,” he added.
In the other portion, Muir cited a few of the people Pence spoke with to try and restore order at the Capitol before asking him what did Trump do during all that. Pence simply replied that he “was at the Capitol, I wasn't at the White House” and the question of Trump’s conduct would “be a good question for him.”
Co-host Robin Roberts then brought chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl, who told her that it was “so striking to hear Pence, who was the most loyal member of that administration...called [sic] him reckless and say that he put his family and all those people in the Capitol in danger.”
Karl then dropped his line of attack:
But when you consider what happened and the fact that Trump later told me just weeks after he left the White House justifying the actions of those who were saying hang Mike Pence, I think the obvious question Pence is going to face now, is — is what took so long?
Roberts agreed with the insinuation that Pence was cowardly to wait until 2022: “Yeah. A lot of people online after seeing him sit down with David in that one bite were saying that very same thing, Jon, why did it take so long?”
It’s peak hypocrisy for Karl to scoff at Pence’s decision-making as Karl just so happened to publish two Trump White House-bashing books in the last four years.
His November 2021 book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show included a Trump interview in which he alleged Trump justified rioters shouting, “hang Mike Pence.” But when did Karl conduct said interview? March 18, 2021. In its review, the Los Angeles Times had a list of unreported stories. And at ABCNews.com, a November 14, 2021 article relayed Karl’s findings about the pressure on Pence during January 6, something from 10 months earlier.
A year earlier on March 31, 2020, Karl’s first Trump book Front Row at the Trump Show featured previously unreported tales of Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville and how one chief of staff allegedly told staffers to what The New York Times described as have “read a book drawing approving connections between great leaders and...mental illnesses.”
The same could be said about anti-Trump books from Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, two books from Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post (here and here), The New York Times’s Peter Baker and wife Susan Glasser of The New Yorker, and then-Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender.
In other words, is it only okay to withhold newsy details if you’re a journalist?
To see the relevant transcript from November 14, click “expand.”
ABC’s Good Morning America
November 14, 2022
7:01 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: ABC News Exclusive: Mike Pence One-on-One]
ROBIN ROBERTS: ABC News exclusive. Former Vice President Mike Pence one-on-one with David Muir. For the first time, Pence on his duty, his role on January 6th, what he says about the former President's actions, and will he support Trump if he runs in 2024?
7:08 a.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: ABC News Exclusive: Mike Pence One-on-One; Former VP’s First Network TV Interview Since January 6th Attack]
ROBERTS: Now to our ABC News exclusive. Former Vice President Mike Pence sat down with World News Tonight anchor David Muir for his first network television interview since the January 6th insurrection he has a new book coming out called So Help Me God. Pence directly criticized Donald Trump, calling his actions on January 6th reckless, saying his words endangered him, his family, and everyone at the Capitol.
DAVID MUIR: Members were barricaded inside the House chamber.
MIKE PENCE: Mmmhmm.
MUIR: And in the middle of it all, you can see that the President has tweeted. 2:24 p.m. The President tweets, “Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done.
PENCE: It angered me. But I turned to my daughter who was standing nearby and I said it doesn't take courage to break the law; it takes courage to uphold the law. I mean, the President's words were reckless. It's clear he decided to be a part of the problem.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: ABC News Exclusive: Former Vice President Mike Pence One-on-One; Blasts Trump Over January 6th; “President’s Words Were Reckless]
MUIR: Over the course of several hours, you spoke with the acting defense secretary. You spoke with the —
PENCE: I did.
MUIR: — Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley —
PENCE: I did.
MUIR: You spoke with the acting Attorney General, Jeff Rosen, with the chief of capitol police, where was the President in all of this?
PENCE: David, I was at the Capitol, I wasn't at the White House.
MUIR: And when you learned later that he was watching all this unfold on TV?
PENCE: I can’t — I can't account for what the President was doing that day, I was at a loading dock at the Capitol when a riot taking place.
MUIR: But why wasn't he making these calls?
PENCE: That’d be a good question for him.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: ABC News Exclusive: Mike Pence Blasts Trump Over January 6th Conduct; Former VP Says Trump’s Personal Attack During Riot “Angered Me”]
ROBERTS: We’re going to bring in our chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl. And, Jon, what is the significance of what Pence is saying now?
JONATHAN KARL: Well, Robin, it's so striking to hear Pence who was the most loyal member of that administration, stood with Trump with all those controversies, came out and called him reckless and say that he put his family and all those people in the Capitol in danger. But when you consider what happened and the fact that Trump later told me just weeks after he left the White House justifying the actions of those who were saying hang Mike Pence, I think the obvious question Pence is going to face now, is — is what took so long?
ROBERTS: Yeah. A lot of people online after seeing him sit down with David in that one bite were saying that very same thing, Jon, why did it take so long? But amid all of this Donald Trump set, of course, to make that big announcement tomorrow.
KARL: Yeah, the timing is incredible. You have this Pence interview, which, obviously, has set in place, timed to his book a long time ago, but Trump is intending to announce he's running for President tomorrow, again, we'll believe it when he actually see him say it. But another — a third run for president and his people say, all systems go, that he will do it tomorrow night.
ROBERTS: We'll see what happens. Okay, Jon, thank you so much. David Muir's exclusive interview airs tonight on World News Tonight and across ABC News and then full primetime special, David Muir One-on-One with Mike Pence airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern here on ABC.