Pence on Trump in 2024: ‘There might be someone else I would prefer’


Once they ran the country together. Now former Vice President Mike Pence has suggested that he might not support his old boss, Donald Trump, if Trump runs for the next presidential election.

Asked if he would support Trump in 2024, Pence took a long pause and told an audience at Georgetown University late Wednesday with a wry smile, “Well, there’s maybe someone else I’d prefer more.”

It’s possibly the heaviest hint yet that the former veep could put himself in the running instead — fueling the possibility of a clash that has been the subject of Washington speculation since tensions between the two leaders in recent days by the Trump administration.

Pence shrugged off the applause and continued, “What I can tell you is that I have every confidence that the Republican Party is going to get the leadership right. All my focus has been on the midterm elections and it will remain so for the next 20 days.”

“But after that we will think about the future, ours and the nation’s,” he added. “I’ll keep you posted.”

Over the summer, Trump has made it less a matter of if, but more of when, he would announce his bid. “In my own mind, I’ve already made that decision,” he told New York magazine.

Pence, who has largely stayed away from openly criticizing Trump, refers to his time in the White House as the “Trump-Pence administration” and has undertaken an aggressive travel schedule for the early 2024 primary and caucus states, particularly South Carolina and Iowa.

However, he also walks a fine line, having criticized Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election but still campaigning with Republicans ahead of the midterms who have embraced Trump’s falsehoods about it.

Pence’s Jan. 6: Owning his role as he woos Trump voters

Trump supporters have called Pence a “traitor” for carrying out his ceremonial duty to certify Joe Biden’s victory on January 6, 2021. Rioters in the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol that day chanted “Hang Mike Pence! ” He said he feared for his and his family’s safety as they hid near the Senate.

Trump has said bluntly: “Mike committed political suicide by not taking votes he knew were wrong.”

But Pence has fought back. “President Trump is wrong,” he said in February in Florida. “I had no right to overturn the election.”

The judge appreciates Trump and orders the Pence aide to testify before the grand jury on January 6

Political pundits have noted that Pence has yet to make opposition to Trump a central part of his political brand.

Instead, he has been keen to talk about policies, particularly immigration and border control. Speaking at the conservative Heritage Foundation earlier Wednesday, he called out “apologists” for Russian President Vladimir Putin within the Republican Party. He also rebuked those who have argued against US defense funding to Ukraine.

And Pence again hinted at his own ambitions, noting that the United States was “on the cusp of a new era of Republican leadership.” Republicans, he said, cannot “allow our movement to be led astray by the siren song of unprincipled populism unmoored from our oldest traditions and most cherished values.”

Far-right UCLA student who sat in Pence’s Senate seat on Jan. 6 convicted

At the Georgetown event, Pence told the crowd that he “frankly always had a good relationship” with President Biden, though he said he couldn’t “identify a policy that I agree with.” Pence added: “I think you can say someone’s ideas are bad without saying they’re a bad person.”

Of Vice President Harris, Pence also took a moderate approach: “We had strong differences, but look, I respect literally everybody. I don’t care what your politics are, if you’re willing to stand up and put your name on a ballot , because you love this country – you have my respect.”

Isaac Arnsdorf, John Wagner and Mariana Alfaro contributed to this report

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