- Secret Service agents with Pence's security detail made "very personal calls over the radio" on January 6, 2021.
- A former White House security official told the January 6 committee the agents called in on the radio to "say goodbye" to loved ones.
- "The VP detail thought that this was about to get very ugly," the official said.
Members of then-Vice President Mike Pence's security detail were calling their loved ones to "say goodbye" as violence escalated at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, a former White House security official told the House committee investigating the attack in testimony played on Thursday evening.
"The members of the VP detail at this time were starting to fear for their own lives. There was a lot of yelling, a lot of very personal calls over the radio, so it was disturbing. I don't like talking about it," the official, who was unnamed for security purposes, told the committee.
"But there were calls to say goodbye to family members, so on and so forth," the official continued. "It was getting — for whatever the reason was on the ground — the VP detail thought that this was about to get very ugly."
Secret Service agents escorted Pence out of the Senate chamber as rioters broke into the Capitol and took him to a secure location in the building.
Rioters on January 6 were heard chanting "Hang Mike Pence," going as far as building a noose and gallows outside of the Capitol building.
According to committee testimony, White House officials implored President Donald Trump to send a message to the rioters to back away from the Capitol, but the president did not immediately relent. Instead, the president sent a tweet out at 2:24 pm — the same time Secret Service members radioed fearing for their lives — condemning Pence for not having "the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution."
The tweet led former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger to resign.
"I was quite disturbed by it and worried to see that the president was attacking Vice President Pence for doing his constitutional duty," Pottinger said on Thursday. "It looked like fuel being poured on the fire."
Thursday's hearing by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol was the eighth in a series of hearings highlighting Trump's role in the Capitol riots. Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said on Thursday there will be no hearings in August, but more will occur in September.