Mike Pence meets with National Guard members stationed at U.S. Capitol; one week after violent riots

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock (11709590u) Vice President Mike Pence elbow bumps with a member of the National Guard as he speaks to troops outside the U.S. Capitol, in Washington Pence Inauguration, Washington, United States - 14 Jan 2021

Vice President Mike Pence is thanking National Guard members for their service following last week’s violent insurrection by pro-Donald Trump rioters.

On Thursday evening, Pence, 61, stopped by the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. to greet National Guard members stationed there ahead of next week’s presidential inauguration ceremony for President-elect Joe Biden.

In his first trip back to the Capitol since the riots on Jan. 6, Pence told those stationed outside the building, “Thank you for stepping forward for your country,” according to The Hill.

The outlet added that he told the National Guard members to have “a safe inauguration and a swearing in of a new president and vice president,” before he also told them, “It’s been my great honor to serve as your vice president, and I want to thank you for your service.”

In a video of the gathering obtained by CNN, Pence is also seen speaking with individual members, where he inquired about when they were each called to report to Washington, D.C. and how long they have served for the National Guard.

Pence’s visit came a week after the of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, entering the Senate chamber and numerous Congressional offices in a chaotic scene.

Trump, 74, had previously publicly pressured Pence to illegally use his position as vice president to overturn the 2020 election results when Congress met to ratify Biden’s victory. But Pence released a statement before Congress met last Wednesday, informing both the president and the public that he didn’t have the constitutional power — or any intention — to intervene with the country’s vote.

The president then gave a disgruntled and angry speech outside the White House complaining about his loss, telling the crowd Pence needed “to come through for us.”

“If he doesn’t that will be a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution,” the president said at the time.

Trump later encouraged his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol building, saying, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

Once there, the mob became violent and ransacked the Capitol building, forcing Pence and other lawmakers to be quickly evacuated and placed under lockdown. Some in the pro-Trump mob were heard chanting that they wanted to “hang” Pence.

While rioters clashed with law enforcement inside the Capitol building, Trump tweeted: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

In other statements, Trump praised the rioters as “very special” and warned “these are the things and events that happen,” but he also told them to go home and be peaceful. Twitter has since removed the tweet and permanently suspended Trump’s personal account.

On Monday, Trump and Pence spoke for the first time since the violent riot, according to multiple reports.

A senior administration official told CNN and The Hill the president and vice president spoke in the Oval Office after they reportedly had gone days without speaking. “The two had a good conversation, discussing the week ahead and reflecting on the last four years of the administration’s work and accomplishments,” the official told the outlets.