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If Trump is arrested, protests should be peaceful, GOP contenders say

“I believe that people understand that if they give voice to this, if this occurs on Tuesday, that they need to do so peacefully and in a lawful manner,” Mike Pence said.

Former Vice President Mike Pence faces reporters after making remarks at a GOP fundraising dinner, March 16, 2023, in Keene, N.H. | Steven Senne/AP Photo

By Kelly Garrity

03/19/2023 09:21 AM EDT

Updated: 03/19/2023 10:40 AM EDT

If former President Donald Trump is indicted this week, any protests that take place should be peaceful and lawful, former Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday.

Trump took to social media over the weekend to call on his supporters “take our nation back” should he face criminal charges.

“I believe that people understand that if they give voice to this, if this occurs on Tuesday, that they need to do so peacefully and in a lawful manner,” Pence told ABC’s Jonathan Karl during an interview that aired on “This Week.”

“The violence that occurred on January 6, the violence that occurred in cities throughout this country in the summer of 2020, was a disgrace. The American people won’t tolerate it and those that engage in that kind of violence should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu echoed Pence’s call Sunday.

“Look, if someone’s calling for protests, you always want to make sure that they’re peaceful,” Sununu said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “In long history, in recent history in America, folks always are out there protesting what they see as an unjustified arrest or an unjustified indictment. But you want to make sure it’s peaceful. We don’t want history to repeat itself in overly negative ways.”

The former vice president declined to say whether Trump’s call for protests on social media was irresponsible, instead calling the investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg politicized.

“It just feels like a politically charged prosecution here,” Pence said, later adding that he supports efforts in Congress, led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, to investigate Trump’s potential prosecution.

“Nobody’s above the law. But nobody’s beneath the law either,” Pence said. “And the American people are troubled after four years of our administration, seeing the politicization of the Justice Department, I strongly support the efforts in Congress to investigate the role that politics is playing in our justice system today.”

Sununu, who is seen as a potential 2024 presidential candidate like Pence, also criticized the investigation into Trump, calling it a “political circus.”

“There’s much more pressing issues of the day. It’s just unfortunate this has taken the headline,” Sununu said.

Though criminal charges appear imminent in the case over Trump’s handling of a hush money payment made during his 2016 presidential campaign, there is no clear basis for the former president’s claim that he expects to be arrested Tuesday.

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