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Pence refused to leave the Capitol during the January 6 riot despite Secret Service agents urging him to evacuate, saying, 'I'm not getting in the car': book

mike pence
Vice President Mike Pence presides over a joint session of Congress on January 6.
Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images
  • Pence did not want to leave the Capitol as rioters stormed it on January 6, a new book says.
  • "I Alone Can Fix It" says he wanted Congress to return to finish the electoral certification.
  • The world can't see "our process of confirming the next president can be delayed," he said.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Vice President Mike Pence refused to leave the Capitol as rioters stormed the building on January 6, according to a forthcoming book by the Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig.

The authors provide a behind-the-scenes account of the Capitol insurrection in their new book, "I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year," which is scheduled for release on Tuesday. The Post published an excerpt of the book on Thursday.

Presiding over a joint session of Congress, Pence was leading the certification of the 2020 election results, a constitutional duty that President Donald Trump wanted him to abandon based on baseless claims that the race was stolen. The certification started around 1 p.m. on January 6.

When a crowd of Trump supporters breached the Capitol complex about an hour into the certification process, Secret Service agents swiftly escorted Pence to his ceremonial office near the Senate floor, the book says. But Pence's security detail was worried for his safety because the room they were in had glass windows that rioters could break, the authors write.

Tim Giebels, Pence's lead security agent, asked the vice president "twice" to evacuate the building, the book says. But Pence did not want to bow down to the rioters and flee the scene, according to the book.

"I'm not leaving the Capitol," he told Giebels, according to the book. 

Giebels tried a third time, telling Pence: "The room you're in is not secure."

"I need to move you. We're going," Giebels added, the book says.

The protective detail then ushered Pence, along with his wife, Karen, daughter Charlotte, and his brother Rep. Greg Pence of Indiana, down a staircase to his armored limousine, the book says.

Pence refused to get in the car. "I trust you, Tim, but you're not driving the car," Pence told Giebels, the book says. "If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off. I'm not getting in the car."

Pence and his family then waited out the riot from an underground but undisclosed location inside the Capitol, the authors write. He was adamant that Congress finish its work that same night, the book says.

"We need to get back tonight," Pence told top lawmakers and defense officials on a call, according to the book. "We can't let the world see that our process of confirming the next president can be delayed."

Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell also wanted to stand their ground against the the rioters and complete the election certification, the book says. The top Democrat and Republican, as well as fellow leaders Chuck Schumer and Kevin McCarthy, were transported from the Capitol to Fort McNair, an Army post in southwest Washington, during the chaos, the book says.

"We're going back to the Capitol," Pelosi said on a call, according to the book. "You just tell us how long it will take to get rid of these people."

"I want it cleared out now. The Senate needs to get its business done," McConnell said, according to the book.

Congress reconvened, and Pence returned to the chamber at 8:06 p.m., the authors write. The lawmakers certified President Joe Biden's 2020 victory at 3:24 a.m. on January 7.

Trump did not personally check in on Pence at any point during the riot, the book says.

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