Pence navigates a potential White House run, and a frightening political time


“Pence is currently on his own political rehab tour, hoping he can shake off the stink of being Trump’s vice president.”

Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump at the White House on November 24, 2020, three weeks after Election Day. Erin Scheff/The New York Times

Former Vice President Mike Pence has emerged from the January 6 hearing in an awkward position.

For some Democrats in Congress, he has become something of a hero for opposing Donald Trump’s pressure campaign to reverse the 2020 election, when American democracy was on the verge. For Trump and his political base, Pence is a vulnerable figure who left the presidency. And for a swathe of anti-Trump voters in both parties, he’s the only one who finally did the right thing by standing up for his former boss—years too late, willingly defending or ignoring some of Trump’s earlier excesses. After.

The whipsaw of images forms a precarious foundation for the potential presidential campaign for which Pence is laying the foundations. Yet the former vice president continues his journey across the country ahead of the 2024 primaries, as he navigates his dire situation.

As much as he did after the 2020 election, when he tried to keep his tensions with Trump from going public, only to push him to light, Pence continued to stomp, trying to make the best of a situation Seek what he didn’t without being openly hostile to the president with whom he served and who remained the leader of the Republican Party.

Pence himself has said little about January 6, 2021, although his aides have testified about his resolution as Trump and his aides try to pressure him to downplay President Joe Biden’s victory. Was. In an economics speech at the University Club of Chicago on Monday, Pence seemed like a candidate — but not someone who might be interested in discussing the specifics of his life on Jan.

“We’ve all gone through a lot over the years,” Pence told the audience. “A global pandemic, social unrest, a divisive election, a sad day in our nation’s capital – and an administration driving our economy into the abyss of a socialist welfare state every day.”

Insight into Pence’s mindset at the time has mainly come from the testimony of his former chief of staff, Mark Short, and his former attorney, Greg Jacob. Pence, as he made clear in his Chicago speech, has trained his vision on electing the Biden administration and Republicans, including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and others who were intensely at odds with Trump in the midterm. If Pence has sharp things to say, he can’t do it until he has a book.

“Mike Pence’s position is a political bribery patch,” said David Kochel, a Republican strategist who worked on Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign in 2016. “The more he is praised by Democrats and the media for doing the right thing on January 6, the more some in Trump’s base doubt his loyalty to the Trump team.” “There’s no upside for them to lean into any of this,” he said.

Later on Monday in Peoria, Illinois, Pence called on Republicans to focus on the future, not the 2020 presidential election, an indirect reference to Trump’s relentless focus on his election losses that continues to this day.

“In the days between now and Election Day, let’s take a positive look at the future of the American people,” Pence told a crowd of Republican activists at the Lincoln Day dinner. “Yes, let’s be loyal opposition. Let’s hold the other side accountable every day. In the days between now and Election Day, we want you to say yes – yes to the future, yes to the future of freedom and our cherished values. And the Republican Party should be the party of the future.”

Three times Pence praised the achievements of the “Trump-Pence administration” and told a story from his high school reunion about a former classmate who encouraged him by saying, “We need you guys.”

During the speech, Republican Party of Hancock County, Illinois President Cathy Sparrow called out “Pence for the president!” Screamed. Pence ignored the shout.

After Pence’s remarks, Sparrow said, “It was Trump’s turn.” “It’s time for Pence to step up and run.”

The focus on Pence offers both potential benefits and risks as he considers running for president.

The Democrats’ peeps certainly didn’t help him, but his actions before, during, and after January 6 gave him an opportunity to differentiate himself in a crowded primary field that could include Trump. Pence, whose support for Trump helped quell concerns about him from evangelical voters in 2016, has the advantage of starting out as a known entity for the Republican base.

Pence has tried to stake a lane for himself by representing aspects of the Trump White House that appeal to conservatives, but without the rough and sometimes outrageous Trump demeanor that they get tired of. But that approach is complicated by the fact that Pence’s biggest praise has come from the Democrats who voted to impeach Trump.

“In a time of absolutely reprehensible betrayal of people’s oaths of office and crimes being committed everywhere, someone who does their job and abides by the law will stand as a hero on that day,” Representative Jamie Ruskin , D- Member of the House Select Committee probing the January 6 attacks, M.D. said on NBC News ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday. “And that day, he was a hero.”

However, many other Democrats have opposed the idea that Pence — known as cautious and loyal, and who didn’t break with Trump until the very end — should be praised, especially as he campaigns for the next president. admit.

“Pence is currently on his own political rehab tour, hoping he can wash away the stench of being Trump’s vice president,” the Arizona Democratic Party said in an exploding email. When Pence recently traveled to the southern border in that state. “But we know just because Mike Pence didn’t give up on January 6th doesn’t change the fact that he missed many opportunities to do the right thing for a full 4 years.”

Other Democrats, including members of the Democratic National Committee, have highlighted that Pence followed Trump closely during some of the biggest controversies of his presidency, including his first impeachment, and that Pence has been public about his views. Didn’t even speak until a few moments ago. Election certification began on 6 January.

Nonetheless, even some of the harshest critics of the Trump era have said the January 6 action should not be taken lightly.

David Axelrod, a former top adviser to former President Barack Obama, said, “It is true that before and weeks after the election, Mike Pence played with Trump’s baseless election machinations.” “He certainly didn’t disagree. But, at the end of the day, he will be remembered for a pivotal moment when he resisted enormous pressure and literally put his life on the line for our democracy. And, for that, He deserves all the accolades he has received.”

Democrats’ complaints have focused not only on their tolerance for Trump’s ideal-shattering behavior but also on the administration’s policies. Aides of Pence say they believed the administration was implementing policies it generally agreed with, including putting forward conservative candidates for three Supreme Court seats. His longtime loyalty to Trump may resonate with some Republicans, but with the former president demanding full allegiance, it’s a hard line to walk.

“Ironically, Pence was arguably Trump’s primary supporter,” said Rob Stutzman, a Republican strategist based in California. “He was the mainstream traditional conservative Republican who would go to the donors and not only defend Trump and his policies, but insist with a straight face that Donald J. Trump was a good man.”

Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, has been critical of aspects of the House committee’s work at a time when Trump has encouraged his supporters to consider the panel illegitimate. This has allowed Pence to keep some distance from committee work that he has not put before himself.

Officers are expected to try again to ask Pence to testify, a move he will most likely oppose. On Sunday, Representative Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a committee member, left open the idea that his presence could still be requested.

“Definitely a possibility,” Schiff said. “We’re not excluding anyone or anything at this point.”

This article originally appeared in new York Times,

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