On Wednesday night, Former Vice President Mike Pence dodged a question about whether he would vote for his former boss in 2024.
In an appearance at Georgetown University in an event hosted by the Young America’s Foundation, he was asked “If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president in 2024, will you vote for him?”
The question prompted some laughter from the audience.
After pausing, Pence replied that “Well, there might be somebody else I’d prefer more,” in a statement that induced some smattering of applause.
“What I can tell you is I have every confidence that the Republican Party is going to sort out leadership. All my focus has been on the midterm elections and it will stay that way for the next 20 days,” he reportedly added.
"If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president in 2024, will you vote for him?"
Mike Pence: "Well, there might be somebody else I prefer more." pic.twitter.com/nUEJ8mQIxO
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) October 20, 2022
Whether Pence was talking about himself, or another possible contender, is completely speculative.
With a series of rallies on behalf of MAGA midterm candidates, Trump already sounds like a 2024 presidential candidate, and by all accounts, he is the overwhelming favorite for the GOP nomination if he wants it.
Pence, who has also campaigned for Republicans (as alluded to above) — many of whom are inspired by Trump — in this election season, has positioned himself as a potential 2024 POTUS candidate.
He said at the same event that he and his wife Karen, insofar as any further political aspirations, intend to “reflect at the right time, maybe in the months ahead, to determine what our calling is and to follow that calling, come what may.”
Whether the ex-VP and the political consultants whispering to him have this awareness, it is highly unlikely that the GOP base will support a low-energy, establishment candidate for president, even someone with Pence’s solid personal qualities. Those days are over.
Parenthetically, Pence appears to be a big fan of sending unlimited U.S. taxpayer money to Ukraine, and has separately declared that “There can be no room in the conservative movement for apologists to Putin.”
In a lighter moment at the Georgetown confab, Pence joked that “One of the great things about no longer being vice president is that you get to drive your own car. One of the bad things is you pay for your own gas.”
Asked about his own political future amid widespread speculation he will run, Pence said he and his wife Karen will “reflect at the right time, maybe in the months ahead, to determine what our calling is and to follow that calling, come what may.”
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 20, 2022
Apart from the rational desire to restore the America First agenda that the Biden administration has vitiated, Trump arguably may find himself in a situation where he has to seek the White House again to try to keep vindictive, partisan prosecutors at bay in what has devolved unfortunately into a two-tiered justice system under the Biden Justice Department.
Some bad blood exists between Trump and Pence over whether the latter had the constitutional authority to block, at least temporarily, the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden’s win on January 6, 2021.
“There has been tension between the two ever since Pence resisted pressure by Trump and his supporters to stall the certification of Biden’s 2020 victory and send electoral votes back to several battleground states where GOP-led legislatures could try to overturn the results over supposed concerns about fraud and irregularities,” the Washington Examiner recalled.
Last summer, Pence said that “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.”
In February, Pence told the Federalist Society that “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election.”
Apart from the profound constitutional implications that surrounded the legal controversy, it was never in Mike Pence’s personality to go in that bold direction.
In a March interview, Trump ruled out a reunion with Pence, whom he described as a “really fine person” on the 2024 ticket. “I don’t think the people would accept it,” he said.
He noted that “Mike and I had a great relationship except for the very important factor that took place at the end. We had a very good relationship. I haven’t spoken to him in a long time,” which seems to contradict what Pence has said about their post-presidency interaction.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 17, 2022
“Mike thought he was going to be a human conveyor belt, that no matter how fraudulent the votes, you have to send them up to the ‘Old Crow,'” Trump also said, referring to his frenemy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
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