Supporters of former US President Donald Trump heckled with Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president, with calls of “traitor” at a conservative conference over his role in Congress’s certification of President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.
“It is great to be back with so many patriots dedicated to faith and freedom and the road to the majority,” Pence said at the Faith & Freedom Coalition summit in in Kissimmee, Florida, on Friday before the heckling began.
“I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” Pence continued, as Trump’s supporters in the crowd began to grow louder, yelling “traitor.”
Authorities reportedly removed some of the hecklers from the event as Pence ignored the outburst and continued with his speech.
The incident shows the divisions that remain in the Republican Party over the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump and his allies raised concerns after Biden’s victory in November that widespread fraud marred the race, and that the election was rigged by the Washington establishment in favor of Biden, who was certified as the winner in Congress on January 6.
In November, Trump said Biden “won” the presidential election because the vote was "rigged."
“No vote watchers or observers allowed, vote tabulated by a radical left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more!” Trump tweeted then.
Trump’s remarks played a role in inciting the violent protest on January 6, during which thousands of angry protesters stormed the Capitol in a failed attempt to halt Congress’s certification of the election results. The assault left five people dead, including a member of law enforcement.
Pence, who was overseeing the certification proceedings as vice president, was rushed to safety as some people in the mob called for his execution.
Since then, Trump's supporters have targeted Pence for his role in the Electoral College certification.
In a speech in New Hampshire earlier this month, Pence himself acknowledged that he has been the target of the people loyal to his former boss, Trump.
"You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office," Pence said. "And I don't know if we'll ever see eye to eye on that day. But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years."
A recent poll shows about 53 percent of Republican Party voters say Trump is currently the "true president" of the United States, not Biden.
According to the last month Ipsos/Reuters poll of over 2,000 US adults, 56 percent of Republicans still believe the November presidential election was "rigged or the result of illegal voting."