Mike Pence’s smackdown of Trump’s “crackpot lawyers” goes viral

Former Vice President Mike Pence has denounced a team of “crackpot lawyers” who he says emboldened former President Donald Trump’s ill-fated attempt to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

On Tuesday, Trump was indicted on federal felony charges related to his attempts to overturn his election loss and the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that followed. He was charged earlier this year with federal felonies related to his post-presidency retention of classified documents and New York state felonies in the falsification of business records.

Pence, who is one of more than a dozen candidates challenging Trump for the GOP nomination in 2024, lashed out at the former president on Wednesday for repeatedly pushing the false claim that he would have been able to overrule President Joe Biden’s election win during the joint session of Congress to certify the result on January 6.

“I want the people to know that I had no right to overturn the election,” Pence told reporters in Indianapolis, Indiana. “What the president maintained that day, and frankly has said over and over again over the last 2 1/2 years, is completely false. And it’s contrary to what our Constitution and the laws of this country provide.”

“I knew that it was false,” he continued. “Sadly, the president was surrounded by a group of crackpot lawyers that kept telling him what his itching ears wanted to hear.”

Republican presidential candidate and former Vice President Mike Pence is pictured on July 17, 2023, in Arlington, Virginia. A team of “crackpot lawyers” emboldened former President Donald Trump’s attempt to reverse the results of the 2020 election, Pence said on Wednesday.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty

The former vice president reiterated his comments a short time later during a Fox News interview, telling host Martha MacCallum that Trump “and his gaggle of crackpot lawyers asked me to literally reject votes … chaos would have ensued.”

Newsweek reached out for comment to Trump’s office via email on Wednesday.

Pence quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter—the social media platform that owner Elon Musk recently rebranded as “X”—with many observers homing in on the former vice president’s use of the word “crackpot” and the collective term “gaggle” to describe Trump’s legal team.

“I always wondered what a group of crackpot lawyers was called,” tweeted @karlfisch. “Gaggle it is.”

“Word of the day: ‘Gaggle,’ which is a group of crackpot lawyers,” @AZVotes tweeted.

“‘Gaggle of crackpot lawyers,'” tweeted @darkmeat1977. “That’s the closest Pence has ever come to cursing…”

Some users were eager to argue that Trump entertaining unsound legal advice after his 2020 loss would not absolve him of responsibility in attempts to overturn the election.

“If, according to Pence, crackpot lawyers were telling Trump what he wanted to hear, that still doesn’t absolve Trump of his crimes,” tweeted @l78lancer. “It just underscores his bad judgment and complete unfitness to ever be in the office again.”

“Pence still can’t fully bring himself to confront the enormity of what Trump did,” @arlenparsa tweeted. “Note the passive voice, ‘the president was surrounded by a group of crackpot lawyers’ No, he surrounded himself with them. Crackpots don’t just come preinstalled in the White House.”

Trump supporters also lashed out at the vice president for his remarks. Multiple tweets referred to him as “Benedict Pence”—a reference to American Revolutionary War defector Benedict Arnold.

Others expressed their outrage by suggesting that Pence had somehow committed treason by certifying the 2020 election result and should be jailed as a result.

“Pence will go down in history as a traitor,” tweeted @wm_webcast.

“Mike Pence should go to jail for treason,” @America4True777 tweeted. “He has sold his soul to the Socialists and Globalists.”

“Benedict Pence will never be President,” tweeted @gunclubprez. “He should be in prison. Traitor.”

Trump fired back at his former running mate in comments posted to Truth Social shortly after Pence denounced the attempt to overturn the 2020 election and Trump’s “crackpot” legal team.

“I feel badly for Mike Pence, who is attracting no crowds, enthusiasm, or loyalty from people who, as a member of the Trump Administration, should be loving him,” Trump wrote. “He didn’t fight against Election Fraud … The V.P. had power that Mike didn’t understand.”

Trump is set to be arraigned on his January 6 charges in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. The former president, who previously pleaded not guilty to the federal and New York state felony charges on which he’s already been arraigned, denies any wrongdoing and claims to be a victim of a political “witch hunt.”

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