Former President Donald Trump on Saturday declined to say if he would select former Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate if he opted for a White House bid in 2024.
Trump told Fox News in an interview that he had a “very good relationship” with Pence, but was “disappointed with Mike on one thing,” a likely reference to the former vice president’s refusal to overturn the 2020 Electoral College certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
Pence, who presided over the certification on January 6, was forced to retreat into a secure location after the Capitol Building was breached that day. Several of the insurrectionists, who were part of a huge mob that sought to stop the certification, openly called for the vice president to be hanged.
Trump didn’t question Pence’s character during the interview, but the former president is still smarting from the election loss, saying that “it’s really too soon to tell” if he would bring Pence back into his fold.
“Certainly we had a very good relationship,” he said. “I was disappointed with Mike on one thing as he understands and some other people understand, but overall, I had a very good relationship with Mike and he’s a very fine person and a fine man.”
He added: “I was disappointed on one account but that was a choice that Mike made, and I want people to make their own decisions and he did. Mike and I have a good relationship … but it’s too early to be discussing running mates.”
During a GOP event in New Hampshire last week, Insider’s Jake Lahut reported that Pence delved into his relationship with the former president as it related to the events of January 6.
“President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day,” he said. “But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.”
He added: “As I said that night, January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. But thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled, the Capitol was secured, and that same day we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”
In 2016, Trump tapped Pence, who was then Indiana’s governor, to join his ticket, in what was seen as an overture to religious conservatives.
The former president told Fox he would “make a decision in the not so distant future” and added that “people are going to be very happy.”
In his speech at the North Carolina GOP Convention on Saturday, Trump returned to his true form, praising conservatives who supported his agenda, backing Rep. Ted Budd for the Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Richard Burr next year, and criticizing the Biden administration.
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Just before the sun set over the Merrimack River, former Vice President Mike Pence took the stage at the Double Tree hotel in downtown Manchester Thursday night, ready to test his presidential ambitions and put a dark chapter to rest.
He walked up to “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, with prepared remarks including phrases such as “moral decay” and “the great Republican comeback,” culminating in a series of crescendos aimed at getting applause.
Most landed, but some didn’t.
In his signature speaking cadence, he had something important to say – that he and former President Donald Trump may never “see eye to eye” on the January 6 insurrection, but that he’s still proud of what the “Trump-Pence administration” accomplished – but not until the completion of the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, introductory speeches, a series of toasts, and a call for the men in the room to “seat the ladies.”
Pence was the main attraction for the Hillsborough County GOP’s annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner, promising a fundraising boost as the biggest name to hit the trail so far in the so-called invisible primary.
With over half of the Granite State’s GOP voters in just two counties – Hillsborough and Rockingham, sitting in the southeast corner of the state near the Boston suburbs – this dinner was equal parts prom and shopping for New Hampshire’s Republican elite.
At $1,000 for a table of 10 and an extra $250 for “VIP room” access, donors and power players could kick the tires on Pence 2024 and rekindle their quadrennial proximity to power.
‘He needs to get it out of the way.’
Should Pence choose to run in the 2024 GOP primary, locking up the best talent on the ground in New Hampshire will be a key step.
Among them were his former chief of staff as VP, Marc Short, along with his former press secretary, Devin O’Malley, and Marc Lotter, another former press secretary and director of strategic communications for the Trump 2020 campaign.
Lotter wrote Pence’s speech for that Thursday night, which bounced between religious themes and a more Trumpian ends-justify-the-means framework.
“As I said that night, January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol,” Pence told the crowd. “But thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled, the Capitol was secured, and that same day, we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”
The room went silent, save for a few whispered conversations.
He’d just landed a trifecta of standing ovations, starting with a line on how “Black lives are not endangered by police, Black lives are saved by police every day,” and that the United States “is not a racist country.”
Shifting into that signature Pence cadence – a staccato rhythm where he gets simultaneously louder and slower approaching the end of a sentence – the former VP gave the crowd what they wanted.
“You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day,” Pence said. “But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.”
Pence threaded the needle, distancing himself from Trump and the mob who chanted “Hang Mike Pence” while showing sufficient deference to the undisputed leader of the Republican Party.
“I thought it was a very good move on his part,” a longtime New Hampshire GOP operative told Insider, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about the party’s outlook on 2024.
“He needs to get it out of the way if he wants to run for president,” the operative continued. “He handled it far more decently than Trump did, particularly considering Pence was on the right side of the event. I thought the crowd loved him.”
Although many of the donors and lawmakers in the room have plenty of experience speaking to reporters during primary season, most quickly declined to speak on the record once the subject of January 6 came up.
“I just think he handled the whole situation tonight very well,” David Tille, a 54-year-old Republican from Henniker, told Insider. “And I thought – I was impressed that he addressed it, that he brought it forward.”
Unlike some Republicans – such as Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who described the insurrection as “by and large a peaceful protest” despite copious videos and firsthand accounts to the contrary – the consensus among New Hampshire’s GOP intelligentsia seemed to be that the Capitol siege was a horrible moment, but not something that should define the party.
Pence said as much, telling the crowd, “I will not allow Democrats or their allies in the media to use one tragic day to discredit the aspirations of millions of Americans.”
Mark Vincent, former chairman of the Hillsborough County GOP, told Insider that “it’s the same party I’ve always known,” and that Pence’s remarks on January 6 were neither a rebuke of Trumpism nor a euphemism.
“It’s a Pence-ism,” Vincent said of the “eye to eye” descriptor. “That’s the way I would expect Mike Pence to describe that situation. And he doesn’t wanna dwell on it.”
Winning the invisible primary
Before Pence spoke, Thomas and Tom Kentara, a father and son pair of Nashua Republicans, said they think he could possibly get better results as president compared to Trump, citing his relationships in Congress and more even-keeled demeanor.
However, both said Pence is not necessarily their pick going into 2024.
Along with several other attendees, the Kentaras said they’re particularly enthusiastic about two Republican governors – Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota – because of how they rebuked public health experts during the pandemic.
“That’s the name you’re going to hear the most,” Vincent said of DeSantis.
A Pence aide told Insider that the former VP was simply in New Hampshire to rally support ahead of the 2022 midterms. Pence was not made available for an interview.
The aide also said Pence met with New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, as well as former Sen. Kelly Ayotte and the GOP conference in the State Senate.
A network that includes 424 state lawmakers, dozens of town selectmen and city council members, as well as unelected power brokers in key counties can provide the lifeblood of a presidential campaign in the Granite State.
They house campaign staff and volunteers, set up fundraisers, host events, and make endorsements after being courted by the candidates.
Trump won the New Hampshire Primary in 2016 without paying much attention to the traditional way of doing things in the state, but with the party firmly in his grasp, whoever wants to win the next one will have to flex the Trumpiest bona fides.
With his near death experience on January 6 “out of the way,” Pence has begun to do just that.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire – Former Vice President Mike Pence addressed the January 6 insurrection in the most detail he’s offered publicly since leaving office.
Pence was speaking at the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner for the Hillsborough County Republican Committee at the Double Tree hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“As I said that night, January 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States of America,” Pence told the crowd. “But thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled, the Capitol was secured, and that same day, we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
The crowd had just given Pence several standing ovations, but went silent when he brought up the siege where rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence.”
“You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since he left office, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day,” Pence said. “But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people of the last four years.”
The day of the insurrection that left five people dead, Trump called out Pence during his speech and complained that the VP would not intervene to prevent the results of the election from being certified in Congress. Although Pence’s role on that day was purely ceremonial and in more of a notary capacity, Trump tweeted his frustration at Pence as the riot was unfolding.
Trump tweeted that Pence did not have “the courage to do what should have been done” at 2:24 p.m., right as the pro-Trump mob was breaching the building.
Pence’s acknowledgment of conversations with Trump since then was not publicly known, and he has spoken little of that day before his speech in New Hampshire.
The former vice president was speaking at what the Hillsborough County GOP billed as their “biggest fundraiser ever,” with attendees able to take a picture with him for an extra donation.
According to a Pence aide who spoke with Insider, the former VP met with Republican Gov. Chris Sununu as well as former Sen. Kelly Ayotte earlier in the day, in addition to the Granite State’s GOP conference in the State Senate.
Pence was speaking there to rally support ahead of the 2022 midterms, and not for a potential 2024 campaign, the aide told Insider.
Republicans with presidential ambitions are looking for ways to campaign without angering former President Donald Trump.
While Trump mulls his political comeback, ambitious contenders are throwing themselves into House races in states with early primaries and caucuses to “put themselves out there” for 2024, the media outlet reported.
“They’re trying to figure out, how do you lay the groundwork without being seen as may be trying to push the president out of the way?” former Rep. Greg Walden, an ex-chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told Politico.
“Until President Trump decides what he’s going to do, I think they can be helpful in House races in their own ways and keep focused on that and not run afoul of the big elephant in the room,” Walden added.
Cotton, seen as a possible contender for the GOP nomination, is heading to Iowa this summer to launch a string of House fundraising campaigns, according to Politico.
Pompeo visited the state in Spring to show his Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson support, the media outlet noted.
In New Hampshire, the home of the second nominating contest in the Republican presidential primaries, the aspiring contenders have started to throw their weight behind Republican parachute candidate Matt Mowers. Mowers has hosted virtual events with both Pompeo and Cotton, Politico said.
Trumpism is “actively destroying the fundamentals of our democracy,” according to a former senior advisor to Mike Pence.
Olivia Troye, who served as the former Vice President’s homeland security adviser, and was on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told MSNBC on Monday that “Trumpism has got a hold of the country right now,” adding that it was “a horrifying and scary prospect.”
Troye, who quit the Trump administration last August, said that Trumpism “creates divisiveness. It creates hatred. We have seen a rise in domestic terrorism under this era.”
She said the resurgence of Trump’s supporters in the Republican Party since his defeat last November and the attempts to oust his critics from the party, threatened to undermine the democratic process.
“That is why it is so upsetting what is happening with Liz Cheney this week,” she told Joy Reid.
“All of these bad actors that are claiming to be leaders in the Republican Party, because what they are doing is they are not just infighting within the Republican Party they’re actively destroying the fundamentals of our democracy and that is why it matters that we stand against this.”
Troye’s comments come after Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Monday that Trump’s critics would end up being “erased” from the party.
He told Fox News that it was “impossible” for the Republican Party to progress without former President Donald Trump as its leader, adding that those within the party who criticized Trump would “wind up getting erased.”
“The most popular Republican in America is not Lindsey Graham. It’s not Liz Cheney. It’s Donald Trump,” Graham said.
Watch Olivia Troye on the threat to oust Liz Cheney
-The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) May 10, 2021
Former Vice President Mike Pence underwent surgery on Wednesday to implant a pacemaker, according to a statement from his office.
Pence had been experiencing symptoms related to a “slow heart rate” over the past two weeks, resulting in the procedure, which took place at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus in Falls Church, Virginia.
The surgery was “successful” and Pence “is expected to fully recover and return to normal activity in the coming days,” the statement said on Thursday.
A pacemaker is a small device installed in an individual’s chest to help regulate the heartbeat. On the 2016 campaign trail, Pence disclosed his medical diagnosis of an asymptomatic left bundle branch block.
“I am grateful for the swift professionalism and care of the outstanding doctors, nurses and staff at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute,” Pence said in the statement. “My family has been truly blessed by the work of these dedicated healthcare professionals.”
Since leaving office in January, Pence has largely kept out of the national spotlight. In February, he revealed plans to launch a conservative podcast. The former vice president is also rumored to run for president in 2024.
After a group of former President Donald Trump’s supporters breached the US Capitol on January 6, forcing lawmakers to evacuate and leaving multiple people dead, questions have lingered about the timeline of events.
Some of those details have emerged in an internal Defense Department document that was obtained by the Associated Press.
Vice President Mike Pence, who was in the building when the Capitol riot began, made an urgent call amid the chaos.
“Clear the Capitol,” Pence told Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, the Associated Press reported. Pence was in a “secure location” when he made the call, but the Capitol had already been overrun by rioters for two hours.
The Associated Press pieced together the timeline of the siege based on the document and previously known details.
According to the outlet, the timeline “lays bare the inaction by then-President Donald Trump” and “shows that the intelligence missteps, tactical errors and bureaucratic delays were eclipsed by the government’s failure to comprehend the scale and intensity of a violent uprising by its own citizens.”
Pence was at the Capitol on January 6 to oversee the counting of electoral college votes and certify President Joe Biden’s victory. Trump encouraged his supporters to come to Washington, DC, to “stop the steal,” a reference to his unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.
Before the siege, Trump addressed a crowd of his supporters and told them to march to the Capitol. He also lashed out at Pence for not blocking the count of the electoral college, despite the vice president’s role being largely ceremonial.
Former President Donald Trump didn’t include his former vice president in his list of “very good” Republican leaders and potential 2024 presidential candidates during a new interview with conservative commentator Lisa Boothe.
Instead, Trump named Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
“Ron DeSantis is doing a really good job in Florida,” he said. “I think Josh Hawley has shown some real courage in going after big tech … Somebody that’s been really terrific is Ted Cruz.”
He added, “Rand Paul has been great … Sarah Huckabee is going to do great in Arkansas. I think that Kristi Noem has done a terrific job … The Republican Party is stacked.”
Trump said he’ll make his decision on whether or not to run for reelection “later.”
Pence is reportedly considering a 2024 presidential bid if Trump decides not to run. Following the election, Trump accused Pence of lacking the “courage” to illegally overturn the presidential election results, inciting pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6 to call for Pence’s hanging.
During the interview, Trump also repeated his false claims that Pence could have rejected certain states’ Electoral College votes during the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress.
“It’s too bad Mike Pence didn’t go back, because you would have had a much different result had Mike Pence gone – he could have said, ‘I’m sorry, but this was not approved by the state legislature, and according to the Constitution, it had to be,'” Trump said.
Pence hasn’t publicly criticized Trump’s pressure campaign against him even as the former president has continued to lie about the election results and Pence’s role in certifying the election.
The former president took the opportunity to attack a few fellow Republicans, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Ben Sasse, who he called a “loser.”
Trump also said he’ll continue to endorse Republican candidates who support his agenda, even if they’ve “said something a little bit off-color with respect to me.”
Former President Donald Trump is seriously considering running for the White House again in 2024, and advisors are pushing him to drop former Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate if he does so, Bloomberg reported.
Three sources told Bloomberg that Pence likely won’t be on the ticket should Trump run again.
Close advisors want him to go with a Black or female vice presidential pick, sources familiar with the discussions told Bloomberg. Two advisors singled out South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, an ardent Trump defender, per Bloomberg.
A person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that they doubt Pence would run with Trump again, but that Pence hasn’t specified whether he’s interested or not. Trump teased a 2024 run at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.
But Trump advisor Jason Miller told Bloomberg that Trump “hasn’t made any decisions regarding a potential 2024 run” and contested that any conversations were happening about picking a new running mate.
Insider has contacted Trump’s office for comment on the Bloomberg report. Bloomberg said a Pence spokesperson did not respond to its request for comment.
Trump and Pence seemed to fall out near the end of their term, when the vice president refused to get behind the Trump’s plan to overturn the 2020 election result.
Trump lashed out at Pence on social media for not trying to block the certification of the election results on January 6, an act that Pence had no constitutional authority to do.
But Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, downplayed the tension in an interview with CNN, saying Trump and Pence “talked several times before they departed” the White House, and that they left things “amicably.”
Pence himself has been heavily discussed as a potential 2024 GOP candidate, but still lags in popularity to Trump. A recent Harvard-Harris poll found that 42% of Republicans wanted Trump as their 2024 nominee, compared to 18% who preferred Pence.
Former Vice President Mike Pence came out swinging on Wednesday, writing an op-ed that criticized House Democrats’ sweeping election reform bill as “unconstitutional power grab.”
The Democratic-backed House Resolution 1 (HR1), known as the For the People Act, would end partisan gerrymandering, expand early and absentee voting, establish national standards for voter registration, and blunt voter purges, among other reforms.
In his article for The Daily Signal, Pence argues that the bill would take away responsibilities that should be left to the states.
“Election reform is a national imperative, but under our Constitution, election reform must be undertaken at the state level,” he wrote. “Our Founders limited Congress’ role in conducting our elections for good reason: They wanted elections to be administered closest to the people, free from undue influence of the national government.”
He added: “While legislators in many states have begun work on election reform to restore public confidence in state elections, unfortunately, congressional Democrats have chosen to sweep those valid concerns and reforms aside and to push forward a brazen attempt to nationalize elections in blatant disregard of the US Constitution.”
Trump’s claims of voter and election fraud are false.
While Republicans hope to use their majorities in key states to cement new Congressional districts to their liking, HR 1 would take away that responsibility, mandating that states adopt independent redistricting commissions.
To Pence, such a move only adds to his staunch opposition to the bill.
“Congressional districts would be redrawn by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats,” he wrote. “Leftists not only want you powerless at the ballot box, they want to silence and censor anyone who would dare to criticize their unconstitutional power grab.”
The former vice president says that having served in federal and statewide office, access to voting and secure elections are paramount.
(The 2020 election was among the most secure in modern history, and there is no evidence of widespread voter or election fraud.)
“HR 1 would turn a blind eye to very real problems at the state level, exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, and further undermine the American people’s confidence in the principle of ‘one person, one vote,'” he wrote.
Pence did not mention Trump in the op-ed, despite him still reportedly enjoying a warm relationship with the former president.
After the January 6 Capitol riots and the Electoral College certification process, which Trump tried to use to pressure Pence to overturn the election results, the former vice president initially kept a low profile, but has slowly emerged back into the political world.
Last week, he met with members of the conservative Republican Study Committee and told the group that he intends to start a political organization that will protect the legacy of the former administration, according to a CNN report.