I saw Trump as a big bully. Then rioters called for my boss, Mike Pence, to be hanged.

The wave of anger and grief that overwhelmed me on Jan. 6, 2021, came rushing back as I absorbed the carnage played anew during two hearings of the House committee investigating the attack on our Capitol, with video after video showing police officers struggling to defend our American institutions. 

But I also felt something else during the hearings: an invigorated faith in our shared American values of accountability and justice.

The committee’s chair and vice chair, a Democrat and a Republican, a Black man and a white woman, described the events that led up to the day our democracy came under attack. Together they highlighted the path forward to repair and strengthen our nation. And I saw hope for our future, for our nation to reject lies and political violence, for both justice and renewal.

I served as a homeland security and national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, a man who faced down threats to his life to do what he knew to be right for our country. I knew President Donald Trump, my boss’ boss, could be a relentless bully. But I never could have imagined him signaling approval for our vice president’s execution.

The former president’s refusal to honor the will of the voters and of our nation’s Founders, who fought a brutal tyrant to ensure that the people would rule, has bullied most of his own political party into dishonoring their oaths and their commitment to country over party.


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