Ankeny, Iowa (Associated Press) — Former Vice President Mike Pence On Wednesday, he emphatically denounced former President Donald Trump and launched a challenge to the Republican presidential nomination. On January 6, 2021, he abandoned his conservative principles and accused the two-time vice-presidential candidate of dereliction of duty.
On that perilous day, Mr. Pence said, as Trump supporters stormed the Capitol after the president falsely claimed that the vice president could overturn the election, Mr. and the constitution of our country,” he said. Now voters will face the same choice. “
Pence is the first vice president in modern history to challenge the president he served. At a community college outside Des Moines, he spent much of his speech criticizing Democratic President Joe Biden and the country’s direction, but he spoke squarely about Jan. He said he disqualified himself. He falsely declared that Pence had the power to keep him in office.
President Trump’s remarks on mass voter fraud sparked mob of supporters After storming the Capitol, Mr. Pence and his family scrambled for safety as part of the crowd yelled, “Hang Mike Pence!”
“I believe that no man who puts himself before the Constitution should ever become President of the United States, nor should anyone who asks others to put themselves before the Constitution ever become President of the United States. “We are doing it,” the former vice president said.
Pence has spent much of the past two-and-a-half years trying to chart a political future within a party that remains deeply loyal to Trump and still believes Trump’s lies, and has struggled with the aftermath of that day. spent fighting. The 2020 election was stolen and that Pence could somehow deny the results.
Pence has criticized Trump for trying to establish his own identity outside the shadow of his predecessor., he has largely done so in a roundabout way, reflecting Trump’s continued popularity within the party. But on Wednesday, when Mr Pence pitched to voters for the first time as a candidate, he was tight-lipped.
He accused the former president of abandoning conservative values on which he stands, such as abortion.
Pence, who supports a nationwide ban on the surgery, said, “After leading the most pro-life administration in American history, Donald Trump and others in this campaign are retreating from the fetal cause. There is,” he said. The sanctity of life has been the call of our party for half a century, long before Donald Trump joined the party. Now he treats it as an inconvenience and even blames the Roe-Wade reversal for our loss in the 2022 election. ”
Trump has been vague about what restrictions he supports nationally, blaming the strong rhetoric of some midterm candidates for his defeat in November.
Pence also lamented that current politics are riddled with “grudges and dissatisfaction” and said the country needs leaders who understand the difference between “politics of anger and politics of resoluteness”. rice field.
“We will restore the standard of civility in public life,” he vowed.
Nonetheless, Pence said in an interview with Fox News after his speech that he would “absolutely support any Republican nominee,” even if it was Trump. And at a CNN Town Hall Wednesday night, Pence said he believed Trump should not be indicted in the Mar-a-Lago case, even if federal prosecutors had evidence that Trump committed the crime. said that
“I can only hope there is a way for them to move forward without taking the dramatic, drastic and divisive step of indicting the former US president,” he said. He also declined to say if Trump would be pardoned if he is convicted.
Mr Trump didn’t respond to Mr Pence’s opening speech, but his supporters were outraged.
“The question most Republican voters are asking themselves about Pence’s candidacy is ‘Why?’
Pence’s entry into the race on his 64th birthday has all but solidified the Republican map. Among them are Trump, who leads in early polls, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who remains second, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is included.
Pence’s campaign will test the party’s appetite for a socially conservative, religious candidate who criticizes the populist tide that has swept the party under Trump.. In many ways, Mr. Pence represents a throwback to the party of the past few days. Unlike Trump and DeSantis, he argues that cuts to Social Security and Medicare must be on the agenda, and why the US needs to keep sending aid to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression. He lashed out at those who questioned him..
Pence and his advisers see Iowa, the first state in the Republican nomination calendar, as key to winning the nomination.. The caucuses include a large proportion of evangelical Christian voters, whom Pence, a social conservative who frequently talks about his faith, sees as natural voters.
But Pence faces tough challenges. Despite being one of a crowded Republican nominee, he is viewed with skepticism by voters on both the left and the right. While Trump’s critics see him complicit in some of the former president’s most indefensible actions, many Trump supporters have denigrated him as a traitor and blamed some of the blame on the president. It is also because I refused the second term of.
In a CNN poll last month, 45% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they would not support Pence under any circumstances. And in Iowa, a March poll by the Des Moines Register and Mediacom Iowa rated Pence more unfavorably than other candidates, including Trump and DeSantis.
But Pence has visited Iowa more than a dozen times since leaving office, and has been warmly welcomed by voters during his visits.
Wednesday’s audience included a number of Iowa Republican officials, including former Iowa Congressman Greg Ganske, who briefly overlapped with Pence’s congressional tenure.
“We are here because we are friends,” said Ganske, the Des Moines area representative for the House of Representatives. Still, he said he didn’t know who he would endorse at the caucuses. “We have a lot of good candidates,” he said.
Insurance executive John Stoiterman, 44, said he was drawn to Mr Pence’s experience at the White House and was “disgusted with the negativity” Trump’s reelection would bring. .
“Mike Pence is a decent human being,” he said. But when asked if Pence’s support was a certainty at the party’s caucuses, Schuytermann said: “I don’t agree with the idea, but I’m going to watch and listen and follow this guy. I intend to,” he said.
Grimes resident Dave Buebeck did the same, praising Pence for being “super-professional,” “politician,” and “person of character,” the qualities that make him a president. “But I think there are other good candidates,” he said, adding that “we’ll see how it all pans out.”
Asked why he wasn’t pitched to Mr. Pence, Mr. Buebeck said: …I’m not sure he’s tough enough for what we need right now. That’s my hesitation. “
Mr. Pence’s decision to focus on January 6 reflects the strategy of his advisers that the Capitol storming must be confronted head-on.
His claims struck a chord with former West Des Moines teacher Ruth Ehler, who was present at the speech.
“The Constitution is our country’s document, and I supported him on January 6th when he abided by the Constitution. ‘ said Ehrler.
Still, Mr. Ehrer couldn’t say whether he was leaning toward Mr. Pence at the caucuses.