Mike Pence wants a comeback — but it's already looking rocky
After months of keeping a relatively low profile, former Vice President Mike Pence has started making himself more visible — and on Friday, Politico published two separate articles on him: a piece by Alex Isenstadt discussing Pence's recent public appearances, and a Meridith McGraw article stressing that Trumpworld has left Pence behind. Meanwhile, Pence is being slammed on Twitter for a thread in which he accused President Joe Biden of promoting a "radical left" assault on "American traditional values."
Pence has been mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate for 2024. And Isenstadt notes that Pence is making an effort to "increase his public profile."
"Pence has spent several months out of the spotlight following a fallout with former President Donald Trump over the former vice president's decision to certify the 2020 election results," Isenstadt explains. "But Pence's uptick in activity — including stops in a key early primary state and a planned appearance at a traditional GOP cattle call — underscores how he's beginning to lay the groundwork for a possible future run."
If Pence did run for president in 2024, the competition in the Republican primary — depending on who else decides to run — could include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Trump himself.
Isenstadt reports, "According to a person familiar with the plans, (Pence's) schedule includes a pair of stops in Texas next week. Pence is to speak at a fundraiser hosted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and on May 7, he is slated to appear at a donor appreciation event hosted by former George W. Bush political adviser Karl Rove. The former vice president will be interviewed onstage by Republican Sen. John Cornyn, according to a copy of the schedule."
According to Isenstadt, Pence's itinerary also includes fundraising for Rep. Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, and a Heritage Foundation donor summit in North Carolina. But McGraw, in her article, points out that some people in MAGA World have turned against the former vice president — or are, at best, lukewarm.
"The final weeks of the Donald Trump-Mike Pence partnership were an unmitigated disaster," McGraw notes. "Pence, the fiercely loyal vice president, was ushered to safety in the halls of Congress after he refused his boss' wishes to not certify the election results. For that act, Trump tweeted that Pence lacked the 'courage' to act. The pro-Trump crowd looting the Capitol chanted, 'Hang Mike Pence.' Just over 110 days later, Pence finally spoke in public, appearing before a crowd of evangelical conservatives at the Palmetto Family Council's annual gala in Columbia, SC on Thursday night."
Pence never criticized Trump directly during his South Carolina speech. In fact, Pence said of his work with the former president, "We made America greater than ever before. I gotta tell you, it was four years of consequence, four years of results, and four years of promises kept."
He didn't mention the dramatic and catastrophic end to their administration, which saw a crowd inspired by Trump chanting "Hang Mike Pence" in the U.S. Capitol as it tried to stop Congress from affirming Joe Biden's 2020 victory.
A former Trump senior administration official, quoted anonymously, told Politico that Trump and Pence's relationship these days is "cordial but not intimate" and said, "The vice president's foray into 2024 politics will be met with a more reserved golf clap."
A former campaign aide told Politico, "I like Mike Pence. I think he was a great VP. A great guy. But the reality is a large portion of the Trump base doesn't like him or care about him. He wasn't a liability (in 2020), but was he an asset? Sure. He could give good interviews, but his ability to attract new voters wasn't really there."
Politico also interviewed a former Trump adviser, who said of Pence, "I think if Pence got into a Trumpless field, he'd be a top-tier candidate. But he wouldn't be the only top-tier candidate. Would it surprise me to see Mike Pence heading up Heritage instead of running for president or being the GOP nominee in 2024? No."
Pence isn't even guaranteed to be Trump's vice presidential candidate again if the former president jumps into the race.
On Thursday, the day of the Palmetto Family Council, Pence posted a Twitter thread bashing Biden's administration:
We will reject Critical Race Theory in our schools and public institutions, and we will CANCEL Cancel Culture wherever it arises!— Mike Pence (@Mike Pence)1619746903.0
Notably, Pence wasn't attacking any of the major initiatives Biden touted in his speech before Congress this week to reform the American economy. Instead, he's focused on narrow culture war grievances as "the most disturbing development" under Biden.
Here are some of the many negative responses:
@Mike_Pence When Donny Trump sent a violent mob to try to assassinate you (which fortunately failed in their missio… https://t.co/b5LVgaqRvV— David Rothschild (@David Rothschild)1619752931.0
@Mike_Pence I need to stay relevant! I need to stay relevant! I accomplished nothing over the past years and will c… https://t.co/9a1RosPFlf— Amber (@Amber)1619748025.0
@Mike_Pence "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." For 4 long years you prostrated yourself befo… https://t.co/NGWzAVh3Pa— Ronnie Bauch (@Ronnie Bauch)1619752012.0
@Mike_Pence Your 1776 Commission is a farce. Beyond its obvious erasure of Native Americans (not mentioned at all i… https://t.co/SsxaZzSWtx— Brian K. Hauser (@Brian K. Hauser)1619800177.0
@Mike_Pence Former VP, Mr. Pence. Please study the difference between the work 'patriotism' and 'jingoism'. The 1… https://t.co/ujGMkR9F2M— John "Wear a Mask 😷 Moron" Grossund (@ 🏡) (@John "Wear a Mask 😷 Moron" Grossund (@ 🏡))1619800254.0
@Mike_Pence The 1776 commission was about white power,and white nationalism. No one else except white people were c… https://t.co/nU90kTH4P0— TIMΩTHΨ (@TIMΩTHΨ)1619800661.0
@Mike_Pence You do remember that the people who your old boss brought to DC to try to overthrow the election wanted… https://t.co/cOlxIVCsmz— Change happens (@Change happens)1619747459.0
@Mike_Pence Oh? This seemed disturbing https://t.co/R7UavlueNu— I'm Not "THAT FLORIDA MAN". I'm a 🇨🇦 in FL (@I'm Not "THAT FLORIDA MAN". I'm a 🇨🇦 in FL)1619747964.0
@Mike_Pence .“Traditional values”? Such as insurrection, assassination attempts ON YOU, flagrant racism, punishing… https://t.co/rQlq2KnyMK— Susie Fierce (@Susie Fierce)1619748442.0
@Mike_Pence The erected this for you. And you don’t seem to find any of that disturbing. https://t.co/7Z4jllnVVW— Healthcare 🇺🇸Voter 🌊 (@Healthcare 🇺🇸Voter 🌊)1619753155.0
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