With new book, Pence wrongly casts himself as courageous during the Jan. 6 insurrection

He wants credit, and book sales, for doing what he was supposed to do in presiding over the counting of electoral votes.

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Former Vice President Mike Pence is talking a lot these days. He should also speak to the January 6 Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

J. Scott Applewhite, AP Photos

Former Vice President Mike Pence is turning up like a bad penny this week, selling his new book while trying — once again — to recast himself as a courageous figure when hell broke loose at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Pence told a network TV interviewer Monday night that he felt the heat from Donald Trump and the outgoing president’s riotous supporters, who wanted Pence to blow up Congress’ Electoral College certification process on Jan. 6 in a bid to overturn the results of the November 2020 election.

“I turned to my daughter, who was standing nearby, and I said, ‘It doesn’t take courage to break the law. It takes courage to uphold the law,’” Pence said in his first network TV interview since the insurrection.

But there’s something else that would take real courage — and we encourage the suddenly talkative Pence to do it: Testify openly and honestly before the Jan. 6 House committee.

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Votes are still being counted in several congressional races from the Nov. 8 midterm election, so there’s a good chance the bipartisan committee — which has not subpoenaed Pence — will be dissolved should the Democrats lose their House majority. But by talking publicly to the committee, if it remains in place, Pence could shed more light on the actions and conversation in the Trump White House leading up to the day of the insurrection.

He could detail what he said, thought and did when rioters outside the Capitol, egged on by Trump, not only threatened to hang Pence, but actually erected a mock gallows to underscore the threat.

Hearing directly from the former vice president would benefit the country far more than a media book tour, or Pence’s transparent attempts to separate himself from the increasingly unpopular Trump while praising him, perhaps in a confused — and likely quixotic — attempt to seek the presidency.

‘You don’t know the position I’m in’

According to the New York Times, Pence has told his aides he doesn’t like the idea of the proceedings potentially leading to possible criminal referrals against Trump to the Justice Department. In doing so, he turns his back on getting to the bottom of the terrifying events of that day, which resulted in five deaths and nearly 150 police officers being beaten and assaulted while trying to protect the Capitol.

He remains largely silent, knowing the lives of the country’s political leadership — including his own — were endangered during the violent siege.

So much for that “it takes courage to uphold the law” jazz.

But then again, that’s classic Pence. On Jan. 6, he should have stood up and publicly repudiated the actions of that day.

He should have stepped away from the president and given the American people a full-throated defense of democracy, stressing that the election was not stolen and openly renouncing those trying to take over the Capitol.

Instead, according to the 2021 book “Peril,” by Robert Costa and Bob Woodward, Pence reached out to former Vice President Dan Quayle, looking for a way to acquiesce to Trump’s wishes.

“You don’t know the position I’m in,” Pence told Quayle, according to the book.

“I do know the position you’re in,” Quayle responded. “I also know what the law is. You listen to the parliamentarian [the expert on congressional authority]. That’s all you do. You have no power.’”

In his own book, “So Help Me God,” Pence denied he called Quayle to find ways to help Trump. He claims his mind was made up before the call.

Still, Pence had his moment on Jan. 6 and the days that followed to show he was a real leader — and flubbed it.

Now he wants credit (and book sales) for doing what he was supposed to do. The real award for courage, though, goes to those like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, members of the House committee who defied the rest of their party to speak out against the insurrection — and lost their standing in the party for doing the right thing.

If Pence wanted the spotlight and a hero’s acclaim, he should have followed their example.

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