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Trump says it was ‘common sense’ for Jan. 6 rioters to chant ‘Hang Mike Pence!’

Former president Donald Trump reacts after his speech during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Oct. 9. (Rachel Mummey/Reuters)

Former president Donald Trump said he considered it “common sense” for his supporters to chant “Hang Mike Pence!” during the Jan. 6 insurrection but that he never feared for his vice president’s safety.

Audio of Trump’s comments to ABC News’s Jonathan Karl were published Friday by Axios in advance of a forthcoming book by Karl.

In the exchange, Trump again took issue with Pence for not intervening to change the results as he presided over the count of electoral college votes by Congress. The count was ultimately interrupted after rioters breached the Capitol and Pence was whisked out of the chamber amid threats on his life.

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Asked by Karl if he was worried about Pence’s safety, Trump said: “No, I thought he was well-protected.”

The House select committee investigating the attempted insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 faces an uphill battle with former Trump administration officials. (Video: Blair Guild/The Washington Post)

“I had heard that he was in good shape,” Trump said. “I had heard he was in very good shape.”

After Karl pointed out that protesters were chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” Trump seemed to defend the chant as he repeated his baseless claims that he election result was fraudulent.

“Because it’s common sense, Jon,” Trump said. “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? How can you do that?”

In the interview, Trump made clear that he wanted Pence to invalidate the electoral college votes of five states in which Joe Biden had prevailed.

The attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob determined to stop the affirmation of Biden’s win resulted in the death of five people and injuries to some 140 members of law enforcement who were struck with flagpoles, batons, baseball bats and pipes. The Justice Department says 675 people have been arrested and 210 have been charged with assaulting, impeding or resisting officers.

Pence is among the Republicans positioning themselves for a possible 2024 presidential bid. It is unclear whether he would run if Trump seeks to return to the White House himself.