On Friday, days after roughly a dozen classified papers were discovered at former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home, he said he takes “full responsibility.”
“During the closing days of the administration, when materials were boxed and assembled, some of which were shipped to our personal residence, mistakes were made,” Pence told Fox News on Friday—his first comments since the document discovery on Tuesday.
“We were not aware of it at the time until we did the review just a few short weeks ago,” he added. “But I take full responsibility for it, and we’re going to continue to support every appropriate inquiry into it.”
The incident comes after a dripping discovery of documents at President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and former Washington, D.C. office.
He had also lambasted Biden, while praising the special counsel’s appointment: “I can speak from personal experience about the attention that ought to be paid to those materials when you’re in office and after you leave office. And clearly, that did not take place in this case.” After Biden’s document revelations, Pence spoke to Hugh Hewitt on his show about what he viewed as a “double standard” regarding how Trump’s and Biden’s classified papers were discovered, adding, “there’s an old saying in the Bible that what you sow, you reap.” Awkwardly for Pence, he is also suffering the consequences of his actions.
Former President Donald Trump came to his former vice president’s defense on Tuesday on his Truth Social platform, writing: “Mike Pence is an innocent man. He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!”
On January 22, Pence’s attorney Greg Jacob wrote a letter to the National Archives and Records Administration explaining “the two boxes in which a small number of papers appearing to bear classified markings had been found, and two separate boxes containing courtesy copies of Vice Presidential papers.” He said a search had been conducted at Pence’s residence on January 16. The letter emphasized Pence’s voluntary cooperation, likely trying to make a sharp contrast with the messy back-and-forth battle it took to retrieve Trump’s documents.
Days earlier, on January 18, Jacob wrote in a separate letter that “Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence.” He explained that Pence’s place was searched “following press reports of classified documents at the personal home of President Biden, out of an abundance of caution.”
The revelation has forced the GOP to toe a fine line, since leaders on both sides of the aisle have now had classified papers discovered in their homes; they are trying to distinguish between Biden and Pence while seemingly ignoring Trump altogether.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Fox News that the Pence revelation was different from Biden’s: “Oh look, Mike Pence has explained where these came from.” He added that for Pence, it was “inadvertent” and a “mistake,” while Biden has given “zero explanation” about why he had documents in his home and office.