Pence and Trump: From Running Mates to Rivals for the 2024


Global Courant

DES MOINES, IOWA — Former Vice President Mike Pence addressed a crowd of about 1,000 Republican activists last weekend in the state that leads the GOP presidential nomination calendar, teasing a major announcement.

“Come this Wednesday, I’m announcing in Iowa,” Pence said to cheers and applause as he spoke at Sen. Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride, her annual motorcycle ride and barbecue that benefits veterans.

This year, Ernst’s rally drew all declared Republican presidential candidates except former President Donald Trump. Pence’s running mate in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections is the leading front-runner in the GOP nomination polls as he makes his third consecutive White House run.

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The former vice president, who accompanied Ernst on her motorcycle ride, was the only one of the 2024 speakers at the senator’s event who has not yet launched a campaign for the White House, but that will change Wednesday when Pence is expected to announce his candidacy. announced at an event just outside Des Moines, Iowa’s capital.


Former Vice President Mike Pence, dressed in a motorcycle vest, prepares to ride in Senator Joni Ernst’s annual Roast and Ride, on June 3, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa (Fox news)

Pence will enter the 2024 race by a single-digit polling average, well behind Trump and also significantly behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who trails Trump by double digits but sits firmly in second place, ahead of the former Vice President and the rest of the field of current and likely candidates.

“Should we enter the race later this week, I am confident that we will have the support to get our message out, tell our story, which is not just my years as vice president, but years as a governor of a conservative state leading a conservative agenda, holding a record number of jobs, and also being a conservative leader in the United States Congress, fighting the big spenders in my own party,” Pence stressed in a Fox News report last weekend. -interview.

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And he promised that “we will have the means to tell our story and I hope that if we get into the race, by the time people make a decision, we will not only be known, but we will be well known. They’ll know who the Pences are. They’ll know our values. Our sense of calling and I’m convinced we can.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride on Saturday, June 3, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) ((AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall))

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Pence was governor of Indiana when Trump named him his running mate in 2016. And for four years, Pence was Trump’s loyal vice president.

But everything changed on January 6, 2021, when right-wing extremists — including some chanting “hang Mike Pence” — stormed the U.S. Capitol with the aim of overturning Congressional certification of the victory of President Biden’s Electoral College, which had been overseen by Pence. .

In the more than two years since the end of the Trump administration, the former president and vice president have grown further apart. And Pence has chided his former boss by calling him by name as he discussed Trump’s claim that Pence could have overturned the results of the 2020 presidential election.


Pence has described the deadly attack on the Capitol as “tragic” and that “it dishonored the millions of people who had supported our cause across the country.” And he has insisted that he did “the right thing” and fulfilled his “duty under the Constitution”. He also commented on a number of occasions that he and Trump may never agree on that day.

Hard-core Trump loyalists will likely never forgive Pence, whom they consider a traitor for refusing to reject the 2020 election results.

Former President Donald Trump arrives to meet with local Republican leaders at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa, USA on Thursday, June 1, 2023. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

And when asked about Trump’s third run at the White House in recent months, Pence reiterated, “I think we’re going to have better choices in 2024.”

And now Pence becomes the first running mate in eight decades to run against his former boss, since Vice President John Nance Garner unsuccessfully challenged President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 election.

In his stupid speeches, Pence praises the policy successes of the Trump-Pence administration, but contrasts himself with the controversial former president in terms of tone and tenor.

“People across the country want us to see us restore a threshold of civility to our political debate,” Pence stressed. “You can disagree without being obnoxious. People who know me know that I take very strong positions. I’m conservative, but I’m not in a bad mood about it.”

And he emphasized that “as we go into battle in this campaign in the coming days, we will bring those principles, but we will bring a commitment to civility that I think Americans crave.”

Pence isn’t the only Trump White House veteran to challenge the former president. Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations during the first two years of the Trump administration, ran for office in February. But Pence probably faces the trickiest road ahead, in part because of his role in the attack on the US Capitol.

“There are some unique challenges to being Mike Pence that have to do with January 6 that have to do with him running into his old boss. If you want another Trump-Pence administration, you have another choice and he’s not Mike Pence,” longtime Republican adviser Dave Kochel told Fox News.

Experts have long seen Pence as a 2024 contender, as he spent the past two years crisscrossing the country campaigning and raising money for Republicans running in the 2022 election. Those trips have taken Pence to Iowa, New Hampshire, multiple times , South Carolina and Nevada — the first four states to vote on the Republican presidential nomination calendar — while strengthening relations in the early voting presidential primaries and caucus states that usually precede the launch of a White House campaign.

Former Vice President Mike Pence signs copies of his autobiography “So Help Me God” at a book signing on December 12, 2022 in Bedford, New Hampshire. (Fox news)

The former vice president also spent a few months across the country late last year and early this year as part of a book tour for his “So Help Me God” memoir. The autobiography provides an account of his career, including his four years under Trump. And behind the scenes, he’s been busy adding his core team of long-term advisors and building a team in key early voting states. And in recent days a pro-Pence super PAC has been launched.

Pence, a longtime advocate of social conservatives, puts a lot of emphasis on Iowa, where evangelical voters play an outsized role in Republican presidential politics.

He reiterated to Fox News that he has long held out “without apologies for the sanctity of life and traditional values.”

Pence has made about a dozen trips to Iowa in the past two years, and his advisers see a path to the nomination resting on a strong finish in the first caucus state. So it’s no surprise that the former vice president will be launching his campaign in Iowa, and his advisers say he’s willing to visit all of the state’s 99 counties.


“He has a very familiar message to most Republicans in Iowa. It’s a message that would sell quite well,” said Kochel, a veteran of numerous GOP presidential campaigns in Iowa and nationally. “On paper, he’s a very good fit for the kind of candidate that Iowa has won in the past.”

But Kochel, noting the potential hurdles ahead for Pence, added: “It’s not the past. It’s a different time now.”

Paul Steinhauser is a political reporter from New Hampshire.

Pence and Trump: From Running Mates to Rivals for the 2024

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