Despite their rift, former President Donald Trump rushed to defend former Vice President Mike Pence after classified documents were discovered at his home in Indiana during a search last week.
Hours after the news broke on Tuesday, Trump urged people to leave Pence alone in a Truth Social post.
“Mike Pence is an innocent man. He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!” the former president wrote.
CNN first reported that one of Pence’s lawyers discovered roughly a dozen documents with classified markings at the former vice president’s home in Carmel, Indiana, after Pence himself had said he had no such records in his possession.
It’s been reported that Pence asked for his attorney to conduct a search in an abundance of caution and that the National Archives and Justice Department were notified immediately.
The discovery at Pence’s home also comes as both Trump and President Joe Biden have become embroiled in their own respective scandals.
In August, FBI agents executed a search warrant and seized hundreds of classified documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Then in November and December, Biden’s team found Obama-era records at a former office used by Biden and at his home in Delaware. However, those discoveries were not made public until earlier this month, and more documents have been found since the White House’s revelations.
Trump has slammed federal agencies for raiding his Florida residence and accused Democrats of creating their own headache by ballooning the matter in August, and thus setting up Biden for fierce criticism now.
“They created this Documents mess for themselves by being so totally DERANGED about me, and I did NOTHING WRONG!!!” Trump wrote on Truth Social on Saturday.
Trump’s decision to defend Pence on Tuesday was a rare move from the former president, who had a public falling out with his former second in command after Pence did not block the certification of the 2020 election as Trump had asked him to.
As many of his supporters shouted statements like “hang Mike Pence” while storming the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Trump did not call on the mob to retreat nor did he defend Pence in the moment.
“For four years, we had a close working relationship. It did not end well,” Pence wrote in his new memoir, So Help Me God.
Pence said that in the months after the Capitol riot, he and Trump were still in contact but that when Trump returned to promoting claims of a stolen election and began to publicly criticize those who voted to certify the results of the election, “I decided it would be best to go our separate ways.”
After Trump’s home was raided in August, Pence said, “I’ve not hesitated to criticize the president when I think he was wrong. And clearly, possessing classified documents in an unprotected area is not proper.”
During the same November appearance on Meet the Press, Pence also criticized the DOJ for how it handled the matter related to Trump, saying “there had to be many other ways to resolve those issues” that didn’t involve the search warrant.