Pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol came within seconds of seeing Pence and his family, report says

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Sonam Sheth
·4 min read
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mike pence
Vice President Mike Pence presiding over a joint session of Congress on January 6 to certify the 2020 Electoral College results after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol earlier in the day. Erin Schaff/AFP via Getty Images
  • A frenzied mob came within seconds of seeing Vice President Mike Pence while storming the US Capitol last week, The Washington Post reported. Outside the building, a crowd of President Donald Trump's supporters chanted to "hang Mike Pence."

  • Pence was presiding over Congress' formalization of President-elect Joe Biden's victory and was in the Senate chamber when insurrectionists breached the Capitol.

  • The Post reported that Pence and his family were hiding out less than 100 feet away from a second-floor landing that the mob reached.

  • Friday's revelation underscores the danger Pence faced as the president's supporters roamed the halls of the Capitol searching for him and other lawmakers who they believed had betrayed the country by refusing to block Congress from finalizing Biden's win — which Pence can't legally do.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A mob of pro-Trump rioters came within seconds of seeing Vice President Mike Pence when it laid siege to the US Capitol last week, The Washington Post reported.

At the time, Pence was presiding over a joint congressional session as lawmakers prepared to formalize President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. When the rioters breached the Capitol, Pence was in the Senate chamber as lawmakers debated a Republican challenge to the electoral votes in Arizona.

At a rally shortly before Congress convened, President Donald Trump urged thousands of his supporters to march to the Capitol, "fight" the election results, and stop the peaceful transfer of power by barring Congress from finalizing Biden's win.

See also: 'It was degrading': Black Capitol custodial staff talk about what it felt like to clean up the mess left by violent pro-Trump white supremacists

After the Capitol Police and the Secret Service realized that insurrectionists had breached multiple entrances to the Capitol, Pence and senior lawmakers were quickly evacuated from the Senate chamber. Video footage recorded by the HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic showed that at one point a group of rioters chased a Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, up to a second-floor landing just feet away from the entrance to the Senate chamber before Goodman lured them away.

The Post reported that the group reached the second floor "about one minute" after Pence was evacuated from the chamber and that the vice president and his family were rushed to an office "less than 100 feet" from the landing.

The report went on to say that if the mob had arrived even seconds earlier, "they would have been in eyesight of the vice president" as he was taken to the office with his wife and daughter.

Friday's revelation underscores the danger Pence faced as the president's supporters roamed the halls of the Capitol searching for him and other lawmakers who they believed had betrayed the country by refusing to block Congress from finalizing Biden's win - which Pence can't legally do.

Outside the building, a crowd of Trump supporters chanted to "hang Mike Pence." A Reuters photojournalist recalled that he overheard three people saying they wanted to hang Pence "from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor." A gallows with a noose was also set up outside the Capitol.

In the days before the siege, Trump privately and publicly urged Pence to step in and stop the process.

"If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency," Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning, hours before the insurrection.

The New York Times reported that in a last-ditch phone call to the vice president minutes before Pence headed to the Capitol, Trump said, "You can either go down in history as a patriot, or you can go down in history as a p----."

As the president's fanatics converged on the Capitol in search of the vice president and others, Trump slammed Pence in a tweet, saying he didn't have the "courage" to do what was necessary.

The president has since been barred from Twitter, which said his supporters were using his tweets to plan terrorist attacks on members of Congress and the incoming administration. Trump has also been blocked from posting on Facebook and Instagram until at least Inauguration Day, and more than 20,000 National Guard troops have been deployed to the Capitol to beef up security as Biden prepares to be sworn into office.

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives impeached Trump on a charge of "incitement of insurrection." Ten Republicans sided with Democrats in the impeachment vote, making this the most bipartisan impeachment in US history. Trump is also the first US president to be impeached twice.

Read the original article on Business Insider