If you’ve read any headlines or been on Twitter this morning, you’ve probably heard the news: Donald Trump justified calls to “hang Mike Pence.” But if you listen to the interview that supposedly supports this wild claim, you’ll soon learn the corrupt media is at it again. It’s just not true.
The audio comes from a sneak peek of an interview between Trump and ABC chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl for the latter’s forthcoming book about Jan. 6, which is bound to be hogwash if Karl’s interpretation of this particular interview is any indication. And the corporate media had a field day Friday morning, all announcing with shock and awe that Trump would have been OK with a mob hanging Pence.
“Trump Defends Capitol Rioters’ ‘Hang Mike Pence’ Chants: ‘People Were Very Angry,’” was The Daily Beast’s fare, with Business Insider claiming, “Trump justified his supporters calling to hang Mike Pence at the Capitol riot, saying it’s ‘common sense.’”
Axios’s Mike Allen went with the headline, “Exclusive audio: Trump defends threats to ‘hang’ Pence,” and led with the story in his morning newsletter. Trump “defended, quite extensively, supporters who threatened to ‘hang’ former Vice President Mike Pence,” Allen said, adding, “it is unprecedented for a former president to openly say it was OK to threaten the life of his vice president.”
In order to get the full picture, you must listen to the audio, not just look at the transcript, because the exchange didn’t occur in a back-and-forth Q&A format as the media portrays. Listen here:
The media shamelessly pretending Trump defended calls to hang Mike Pence are acting like they’ve never heard a Trump rant.
Karl clearly interjected the “hang Mike Pence” question in while Trump was already off and running.pic.twitter.com/YG7ILh8bD8
— Kylee Zempel (@kyleezempel) November 12, 2021
If you’ve ever listened to a Donald Trump interview, you know that his style of communication is ranting. Members of the media are well acquainted with it, and it’s such a well-established fact that “Saturday Night Live” even uses it as the basis for some of its Trump jokes. It’s also how we get interviews like this one.
As you can tell from listening to the audio, Trump begins by telling Karl he wasn’t worried about Pence’s safety because the vice president was well-protected from the rioters at the Capitol and Trump had heard he was fine — end of story regarding Pence’s safety, as far as Trump is concerned.
Trump begins to go on a rant, but Karl jumps in, turning his attention toward the rioters. “Because you heard those chants, that was terrible. I mean, you know, the…” Karl begins before trailing off.
Trump jumps back in, first to continue his rant with “He could have—” but then to respond to Karl’s mention of unspecified chants.
“Well, the people were very angry,” Trump said, and as the former president is already off and running to explain why they were angry — they thought the election was fraudulent — that’s when Karl slips in the mention of “hang Mike Pence.”
But Trump was already on a rant about election fraud. As Karl is jumping in, Trump doesn’t even give him a chance to finish “hang M—” before he continues his previous thought: “Because it’s — it’s common sense, Jon. 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?”
This is why Trump uses the word “because.” It’s clearly not in response to Karl’s “hang Mike Pence” interjection.
In context and without interruption, Trump’s meaning is crystal clear: “Well, the people were very angry because it’s — it’s common sense, Jon. It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect [election integrity].”
Corporate media know this about Trump’s style, and if they’ve listened to the clip, they know Trump was just finishing his train of thought as Karl slips in the mention of “hang Mike Pence” midway through. Yet the media chose to run with outrageous headlines and structure their articles with the interview included in a clean question-and-answer format.
Here’s how Axios did it, and other outlets followed suit:
Notice how they structured the text I’ve highlighted above, to make it look as though Trump was directly responding to the “hang Mike Pence” chant with “it’s common sense.”
The media do this with everything. They did it with interviews all through Trump’s presidency, such as with the “very fine people on both sides” Charlottesville lie. They do it by deceptively editing bodycam videos in order to spread the narrative that police are bad. They do it to smear Republican leaders who have successfully handled COVID-19 despite ignoring some conventional wisdom, to name a few of the endless examples.
We must remember two key things about the media whenever we see headlines like the ones on Friday morning: 1) They are still absolutely obsessed with Trump, and 2) They choose narrative over facts every single time.
Trump didn’t “defend” calls to “hang Mike Pence,” and anyone who has listened to the audio clip knows it.