As a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, rioters called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence. Amid the flurry of information to come out in the days since the Capitol riot, footage from the violence shows a large crowd chanting "Hang Mike Pence, Hang Mike Pence" as they searched the Capitol building for the vice president as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
According to Jim Bourg, a Reuters picture editor in Washington, he heard "at least three different rioters at the Capitol say that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor." He said "it was a common line being repeated" and "many more were just talking about how the VP should be executed." Outside the Capitol building, the mob brandished a gallows and noose.
Video of the mob chanting “hang Mike Pence.” pic.twitter.com/K4EcKK2rab— American Times Film (@ExportedFromMI) January 9, 2021
A separate video obtained by TMZ showed rioters going after Pelosi. In the video, which can be viewed by clicking here, people can be heard calling Pelosi a "traitor." They also used more derogatory terms, with one person telling Capitol Police, "tell Pelosi we're coming for that b–. Tell f–ing Pelosi we're coming for her."
Both Pence and Pelosi, as well as Sen. Chuck Schumer, according to reporter Andrew Feinberg, were targets during the riot. The New York Post reports that Pelosi was a target during the riots, a man named Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr. having allegedly sent a text message saying he was thinking of "putting a bullet in [Pelosi's] noggin on Live TV" and another that said he was headed to Washington with "a s– ton of … armor piercing ammo." He also allegedly texted about running over Pelosi. He has since been charged with writing threats and possessing an unregistered firearm and ammunition.
The threats of violence directed towards the vice president came after Pence, who had gathered in the Capitol building with other congressional lawmakers, issued an open letter earlier that day stating that he would not comply with the president's request for him to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump later took to Twitter to state Pence did not have the "courage" to do what "should have been done" and criticized him for not allowing the states to look over what he claimed to be "fraudulent and inaccurate" results.
Following the violent attack Wednesday, the phrase "Hang Mike Pence" began trending on Twitter. The social media network on Saturday stopped the phrase trending, The Guardian reported, a spokesperson stating, "we blocked the phrase and other variations of it from trending. We want trends to promote healthy discussions on Twitter. This means that at times, we may prevent certain content from trending. As per our Help Center, there are rules for trends – if we identify accounts that violate these rules, we'll take enforcement action."