Former Vice President Mike Pence filed paperwork Monday declaring his campaign for president in 2024, challenging his former boss, Donald Trump, just two years after their time in the White House ended with a riot at the U.S. Capitol and Pence flees for his life.
Pence is expected to formally launch his bid for the Republican nomination with a video and kickoff event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, his 64th birthday, according to people familiar with his plans. He made his candidacy official with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.
Pence served in Congress and as governor of Indiana for more than a decade before being tapped as Trump’s running mate in 2016.
Pence will join a growing field that also includes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley . Multiple reports have indicated that former New Jersey governor Chris Christie will announce a second term for president this week after falling short in 2016.
It will be the first time a vice president has competed for the nomination with the president he served under since 1940, when Vice President Jack Garner decided to challenge his former running mate, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Character is important, says Pence
While he regularly praises the achievements of the “Trump-Pence administration,” in many ways a Pence nomination would represent a return to positions long associated with the Republican establishment, but abandoned when Trump reformed the party in his image .
Pence, who describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order,” has spent months laying the groundwork for an anticipated run, holding events in early voting states like Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, visiting churches, giving policy speeches and courting donors.
Mike Pence prepares for a Saturday motorcycle ride with his wife Karen at Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride event in Des Moines. Pence on Monday joined a growing field contesting the Republican nomination for president in 2024. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Pence’s team sees Iowa and its evangelical Christian constituents as crucial to his potential path to victory. Advisers say he plans to campaign aggressively in the state, hitting every one of the 99 counties before the country’s first primaries next year.
A staunch opponent of abortion rights, Pence supports a national ban on the procedure and has campaigned against transgender-affirming policies in schools. He has argued that changes to Social Security and Medicare, such as raising the qualifying age, must be on the table to keep the programs solvent — which both Trump and DeSantis opposed.
He has also said that the US should provide Ukraine with more support against Russian aggression, while admonishing “Putin apologists” in the party who were unwilling to stand up to the Russian leader.
As Vice President, Pence was an extremely loyal defender of Trump until the days leading up to January 6, 2021, when Trump falsely attempted to convince Pence and his supporters that Pence had the power to unilaterally overturn the results of the 2020 election . .
That day, a mob of Trump supporters violently stormed the US Capitol building after being spurred on by Trump’s lies that the election had been stolen. Many in the crowd chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” as Pence, his staff, and his family ran to safety, hiding in a Senate loading bay.
We can be a nation where everyone prospers and everyone wins. We can have a government as good as our people. And we can be a nation where every American is free to live, work and worship according to the precepts of their faith and conscience!
Pence called Trump’s actions dangerous and said the country is seeking a new form of leadership.
“I think we’re going to have better choices,” he recently told The Associated Press. “The American people want us to return to the policies of the Trump-Pence administration, but I think they want to see leadership more reflective of the character of the American people.”
Trump ‘endangered my family’
After Trump’s legal efforts to prevent the defeat of the 2020 election were quashed by courts and state officials, he and his team targeted Jan. 6, the date when a joint session of Congress would convene to declare victory. formally endorse President Joe Biden. In the weeks leading up to the session, Trump engaged in an unprecedented pressure campaign to convince Pence that he had the power to throw away the electoral votes from battlefield states won by Biden, even if he did not.
While the riot was going on and after Pence and his family rushed off the Senate floor and went into hiding, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.”
Video footage of the attack shows rioters reading Trump’s words aloud and crowds clamoring for Pence to be hanged. A makeshift gallows was photographed outside the Capitol.
Pence has said that Trump “endangered my family and everyone in the Capitol that day” and that history will hold him accountable.
Despite his harrowing experience, Pence resisted attempts to testify in investigations into Trump’s actions on and leading up to Jan. 6. investigations, though he did eventually testify before a grand jury.