Former Vice President Mike Pence called the federal indictment of his one-time boss — former President Trump — “not just a sad day, but a troubling day for millions of Americans.”
Pence, making his first campaign-trail reaction to the blockbuster news, stressed that he is calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland “to unseal the indictment and stand before the press and the American people and explain the reasons for this unprecedented indictment of a former President of the United States.”
However, Pence, speaking at a campaign event Friday in Derry, New Hampshire, also said Trump should have the presumption of innocence but added, “Let me be clear, no one is above the law.”
“It is important to note that as from my years as your vice president and also my years serving on the International Relations Committee in the Congress of the United States, the handling of classified materials of the United States is a serious matter,” Pence said.
Pence spoke the day after Trump was indicted around his alleged improper retention of classified records at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida, after leaving the White House in 2021
Trump was indicted on federal charges Thursday evening stemming from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s months-long investigation. The former president is listed in the indictment, which has not been unsealed, as a criminal defendant charged with at least seven counts involving obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and illegal retention of classified government material. He has been ordered to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday.
The stunning development marks the first time that a former president’s faced federal charges.
“I did absolutely nothing wrong,” Trump told Fox News Digital on Thursday evening.
The indictment has yet to be unsealed.
“Attorney General Merrick Garland, you need to stop hiding behind the special counsel. You need to stand up and explain to us why this was necessary before the sun sets today,” Pence urged.
Pence is among the 10 Republicans challenging Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Trump. who in November launched his third straight White House run, is the commanding front-runner right now in the latest Republican primary polls.
Pence, who declared his candidacy Wednesday in Iowa, was making his first stop in New Hampshire as a declared candidate. Iowa and New Hampshire are the first two states to vote in the GOP nominating calendar.