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Yes, Mike Pence was a loyal vice president to Donald Trump during most of their presidency.
But on January 6, 2021, after Mike Pence declared that he did not have the power as vice president to overturn the will of the Electoral College, the pro-Trump rioters did indeed chant for him to be hanged.
A 2024 race between Trump and Pence would mark a rare case of a former president and vice president running against each other in a primary, which would be awkward even if not for the “hang Mike Pence” episode.
Mike Pence Running for President?
How has Mike Pence reconciled all that, along with the possibility that he may want to be president himself?
He explained it all, first in his memoir that was released last November and now in a new interview with The Hill. In the interview, he discussed the current political scene, the recent House Speaker election, and the 2024 campaign.
“Over the coming months, we’re going to continue to travel,” the former vice president said of his plans for the year. “We’re going to continue to listen very intently, and we’ll make a decision I’m sure that in the months ahead about what role we might play, whether it be as a national candidate or as a voice for our conservative values.”
But when asked about the 2024 campaign, Mike Pence said that Trump having already gotten into the race will not affect his plans.
“At the end of the day, I think it’s a new day,” Pence told the Hill, echoing his sentiments during earlier interviews when his book came out last year. “I think it calls for new leadership. And I have every confidence that the American people and Republican voters will have better choices come 2024.”
Pence also disagreed with Trump’s recent comments that “the abortion issue” hurt the GOP in the midterm elections. The former vice president, long associated with the party’s Christian conservative wing, is considered more sincere about his anti-abortion sentiment than Trump ever was.
“I think going forward, it’s going to be incumbent on the men and women on our party to stand without apology for the sanctity of human life, to stand on that principle of the unalienable right to life, but also to express compassion for women that are facing crisis pregnancies,” Pence told The Hill.
That issue gives Pence a potential lane in a 2024 primary contest against Trump.
Pence also had plenty to say about the House leadership election, in which Rep. Kevin McCarthy emerged as the new House Speaker after 15 ballots.
“I for one am confident that this new energetic conservative majority showed last week that they’re willing to stand for what they believe in, but also able to come together and move forward solutions that will really put our country back on track not just for economic growth, but for the kind of fiscal responsibility that will put us on a pathway to a balanced federal budget again,” he said. The Trump presidency not only did not achieve a balanced budget but barely even discussed one as a possibility or priority.
Pence also called for “visionary reforms,” in order to ensure a balanced budget while maintaining Social Security and Medicare.
“The American people deserve that check and balance in our system that a new House Republican majority can provide,” he said. “But that being said, I don’t think that’s to the exclusion of producing policies that’ll get the economy back on track, set us back on a strong fiscal footing, secure our border and bring real solutions to the American people.”
Pence’s book, according to a Forbes report, was a bestseller, although the same report said that a Pence-associated Super PAC spent $91,000 on copies of the book.
Pence had reportedly been paid between $3 million and $4 million by Simon and Schuster for a two-book deal.
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.