Washington (AP) — When former President Donald Trump was asked to list who he considered to be the future leader of the Republican Party, he soon became Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis and Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. I rattled the list of names, including Cruz. Not prominently on the list: Mike Pence.
The former Vice President is steadily returning to public life in anticipation of the possibility of running for the White House in 2024. He has joined a conservative organization, writing opinions, giving speeches, and setting up advocacy groups focused on promoting the Trump administration’s performance.
However, Trump’s failure to mention Pence in a podcast interview earlier this month shows the unique challenge of the former Vice President. For someone who has built a reputation as one of Trump’s strongest supporters, Pence is now suspected of complying with his constitutional obligation to promote a change of power to the Biden administration among many Republicans. Have been seen.
To win the Republican preliminary election, Pence may need to strengthen his loyalty to Trump, but defends his decision on the last day of the administration, where the president falsely claimed widespread fraudulent voting. And contributed to the deadly riots in the US Capitol. If anyone can achieve this awkward balance, some Republicans say it’s a pence.
Republican strategist Alice Stewart, who worked in Cruz’s 2016 presidential election when Pence supported him, said, “Who can withdraw Ted Cruz’s support and become Donald Trump’s vice presidential candidate? No one should be counted. ” Hair and needle threading that has been rewarded in the past. “
Pence’s aides generally wipe out the story of the next presidential election. They claim that he is concentrating on his family and next year’s midterm elections when the Republicans are in a good position to regain at least one parliamentary meeting room. Allies claim that anger will subside over time.
Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks, who chairs the Conservative Republican Study Committee, said: “If Mike Pence returns to the plate, I think he will have a strong appeal among Republicans across the country.”
Pence refused to comment on this story. On their side, Trump’s aides warn against over-reading the abbreviations during the podcast interview.
“It wasn’t an exclusive list,” said Trump’s adviser Jason Miller. Still, Trump continued to mock Pence in an interview, falsely claiming that Pence had the power to unilaterally overturn the outcome of the election.
Trump hasn’t said whether he will look for the White House again in 2024. If not, other Republicans have made it clear that they will not ceded to Pence. For example, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already visited important primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Since resigning in January, Pence, who served as Governor of Indiana and Congressman before being appointed as Trump’s running mate, remained unobtrusive. He has put together a portfolio aimed at maintaining influence, paying bills, and laying the foundation for the expected presidential election.
According to two people familiar with the debate, he has built a partnership with the Conservative Heritage Foundation and is also being discussed as a potential president of the organization. He joined the Young American Foundation and the Top Speakers Bureau, wrote a daily signal editorial that perpetuated falsehoods about the 2020 elections, and recently visited a Christian relief organization in North Carolina.He makes His first speech It’s another important primary state since retiring from the Palmetto Family Council’s annual fundraising campaign in South Carolina next month.
Pence also discussed writing a book, he said, continuing conversations with his evangelical allies, with Republican candidates trying to regain the majority of the House and Senate in 2022. I plan to spend a lot of the next two years to help. Launching an advocacy organization, as the aides and allies say, is a platform for defending the Trump administration’s records and pushing back the current presidential policy as he seeks to merge traditional conservative movements with trumpism. Will give him.
“He’s doing what he needs to lay the groundwork in case he wants to set up an investigative commission,” Stewart said. “You need to make money, lay the foundation, measure support, and trigger.”
Pence’s allies consider him a natural heir to Trump. A man who can keep his base involved while regaining suburban voters who left the party during Trump’s time.
“Obviously, Mike Pence has a very different persona, a very different tone. That’s probably an understatement,” said former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a longtime friend who now heads the Young American Foundation. I did. “As long as he can still talk about what Trump voters care about, but doing so in a way that more reflects the type of Midwester, I think … attractive to those voters right.”
Skeptics, meanwhile, see another older white man in Milke Toast carrying Trump’s luggage but not charismatic. For these critics, Pence was a psycho-fan who despised himself for four years to avoid Trump’s anger, and Trump falsely claimed that Trump could unilaterally overturn the outcome of the 2020 elections. I am only responsible when.
Anger at Pence turned dangerously personally on January 6, when the mob paraded the Capitol chanting “Hang Mike Pence” when an outside mob set up a makeshift gallows. Did. During the impeachment trial of Trump, who caused the riot, a video was presented showing Pence evacuating to the office with his family just 100 feet from the riot and rushing safely.
Signs that many Republicans still hold Pence responsible for the defeat of the election are scattered on the highways of many Trump fortresses, with masking tape and markers on the Trump Pence flag and grass sign. Is blocking the name of.
Meanwhile, other people like Pompeo are trying to claim the Trump mantel without too much luggage.
“In many ways, I think his future is in the hands of Trump,” said long-time Republican pollster Whit Ayres about Pence. If Mr. Trump publicly praised Mr. Pence as a loyal adjutant, Mr. Ayers said he would find him a promising candidate. But as Trump continues to publicly blame him for losing Pence in November, “he’s toasting,” Ayers said.
Meanwhile, Pence sought to project the impression that he and the former president had repaired the fence, referring to their conversation at a meeting last month with members of the Conservative Republican Study Committee. Pence and Trump have spoken many times since leaving the office, according to both male aides.
“He was a great complement to President Trump and told us that he and President Trump were talking about and reminiscing about the administration’s great achievements and all that,” said Republican Rep. Mike Johnson. It was.
Johnson admitted that tensions at the end of the administration “clearly add some difficulty” to Pence, but argued that the former Vice President could focus on Trump’s policy outcomes to overcome anxiety.
“He helped achieve them, so he claims that legacy,” Johnson said.
“If he runs, I think he’s a promising candidate,” South Carolina lawmaker Jeff Duncan added. “He is a respectable power.”