Mike Pence officially announced his entry into the 2024 Presidential Election on Wednesday at a rally in Iowa on Wednesday, taking shots at former Donald Trump over the president’s handling of the aftermath of the presidential contest in 2020.
Early in his speech, Pence deigned to address the elephant in the room: His participation in the Republican primary to challenge his former boss, Donald Trump. Pence sniped at Trump for his handling of the January 6th Capitol Incident, which Pence has claimed endangered his own life.
“Given my support for our record, it might be fair to ask why I am challenging my former running mate for the Republican nomination for President. It begins with a promise I made to the American people and to Almighty God… and ends with two different visions for the future of our party and the country. January 6 was a tragic day in the life of our nation. But thanks to the courage of law enforcement, the violence was quelled, [and] we reconvened the Congress the very same day,” Pence said.
While Pence was generally quiet during his tenure as vice president, he entered into open conflict with Donald Trump over his participation in certifying the 2020 Presidential Election. Trump claims that Pence could have refused to certify the election results, prompting hardline Trump supporters to condemn the vice president as a traitor.
“On that day, President Trump’s reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol. But the American people deserve to know on that fateful day, President Trump also demanded I choose between him and our Constitution. Now, voters will be faced with the same choice. I chose the Constitution, and I always will,” he added.
“Four years earlier, I swore an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States.’ The Bible says, ‘He keeps his oath even when it hurts.’ My son the Marine once reminded me, ‘You took the same oath I took, Dad,’ and so I did. Article section 1 clause 3 of the Constitution provides the president of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. No more, no less. But despite the fact that the Constitution provides the Vice President with no authority to reject or return electoral votes, the former President continues to insist that I had the right to overturn the election. President Trump was wrong then, and he is wrong now,” Pence said.
“Now I will always believe, by God’s grace, I did my duty on that day, I kept my oath, to ensure the peaceful transfer of power under the Constitution and the laws of this country. I understand the disappointment that many still feel about the outcome of the 2020 election … I can relate. I was on the ballot. But I had no right to overturn the election, and Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn our election when we beat them in 2024. I will always be grateful for what President Trump did for this country … I have often prayed for him in the years since… and I had hoped he would come around and see that he had been misled about my role that day, but he has not,” he continued.
While Pence has been reluctant to attack Trump directly heretofore, he has made a number of remarks that are reasonably interpreted as critical of the 45th president. Earlier this week, Pence criticized Trump for congratulating North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s appointment to a new position in the World Health Organization, saying “no one should be praising the dictator in North Korea.”
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