Mike Pence launches his 2024 bid and slams Trump for putting his family in ... trends now
Former Vice President Mike Pence opened his 2024 presidential campaign Wednesday with a speech where he said he was 'proud' to serve with Donald Trump but also condemned the former president for asking him to choose personal loyalty over the Constitution.
'Anyone who asks someone else to put them over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again,' Pence said as he launched his campaign in battleground Iowa.
He spoke at length about his ceremonial role, and made reference to the threat rioters posed to himself and his family, on a day when someone constructed a scaffold near the U.S. Capitol.
'On that fateful day, President Trump’s words were reckless. They endangered my family,' Pence told a crowd of supporters.
'The American people deserve to know that on that day, President Trump also demanded that I choose between him and the Constitution. Now voters will be faced with the same choice. And I chose the Constitution and I always will,' he intoned.
The former VP, governor, and congressman's speech was filled with bold pronouncements, and some awkward constructs about the man who propelled him to the White House.
'My former running mate continues to insist I had the right to overturn the election,' said Pence, alternating between using Trump's name and avoiding it.
'On that fateful day, President Trump’s words were reckless. They endangered my family,' former VP Mike Pence told a crowd of supporters as he launched his presidential campaign and admonished former President Donald Trump for his actions on that day
He called for restoring a 'threshold of civility' in the nation, and described his ceremonial role of counting electoral votes certified by states.
'I understand the disappointment many still feel at the outcome of the 2020 election … but I had no right to overturn the election. And Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024,' Pence said in an applause line.
But Pence also sought to run on the Trump legacy, as the man who demanded his loyalty on January 6 maintains the lion's share in opinion polling for the Republican nomination.
'I was proud to stand by President Donald Trump every single day when we made America great again,' Pence said in his speech.
He also took a shot at rival Ron DeSantis for calling Russia's war on Ukraine a 'territorial dispute,' then appeared to swipe the Florida governor's slogan when he called for a 'great American comeback.'
'I get why people make big announcements back home, their hometown, at their resort, even on Twitter. But we wanted to be here, in person, in Iowa. We are here because we know that Iowa was the right place to start our engines for the great American comeback,' Pence said.
The line may have been a dig at Trump's Mar-a-Lago announcement and Pence's disastrous Twitter Spaces chat with Elon Musk.
Pence spoke repeatedly about his faith, with a campaign focused on Iowa where evangelical voters hold sway.
'I’m a Christian a conservative and a Republican in that order,' he said.
He also spoke of the military service of his father, who was awarded a Bronze Star, and his son, a captain in the United States Marine corps, after a video rollout that showed Pence in a leather bomber jacket next to a fighter jet and appearing with troops and veterans. (Pence did not serve in the military).
Pence launched his bid for the Republican party's 2024 presidential nomination with an emotive video, making him the first vice president in modern history to take on his former running mate.
The nearly three-minute clip, posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday morning, highlights how his Irish immigrant family 'has lived the American dream', while taking aim at President 'Joe Biden and the radical left for weakening the country at home and abroad'.
Pence has previewed a presidential run for months after his relationship with Donald Trump soured in the final days of his presidency.
During the January 6 Capitol attack, rioters called for the hanging of Pence, who was still vice president at the time. Trump did not denounce these threats and according to House January 6 Committee testimony told aides his Number Two 'deserves' it.
Additionally, Pence has already testified in cases involving Trump and could serve as a witness in a series of legal challenges the former president is still facing.
Mike Pence (pictured in his campaign video) launched his bid for the Republican party's 2024 presidential nomination with an emotive video, making him the first vice president in modern history to take on his former running mate
'I believe in the American people, and I have faith God is not done with America yet. Together, we can bring this Country back, and the best days for the Greatest Nation on Earth are yet to come!' he wrote on Twitter, along with the announcement video.
'Different times call for different leadership,' Pence says in the video posted just hours before appearing in the first-in-the-nation primary caucus state of Iowa.
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'Today our party and our country need a leader that'll appeal, as Lincoln said, to the better angels of our nature.'
While it would be 'easy to stay on the sidelines,' he adds, 'that's not how I was raised. That's why today, before God and my family, I'm announcing I'm running for president of the United States.'
Even before announcing his candidacy, Pence has secured his third-place spot in national polling.
According to a tracking by FiveThirtyEight, Pence has 5.4 percent support among the already crowded GOP primary field. His No. 3 spot, however, is a far 16 percent behind second place Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump is still securely in first with 53.7 percent.
Highlighting his background in the announcement video, Pence said he was 'a son of the heartland, grandson of an Irish immigrant.'
Therefore, he said, 'My family has lived the American Dream. I had the great honor to serve in Congress, as Governor, and as your Vice President, and I'll always be proud of the progress we made together, for a stronger, more prosperous America.'
He then took aim at Biden and the Democratic party, saying: 'today, our country's in a lot of trouble. President Joe Biden and the radical left have weakened America at home and abroad. The American Dream is being crushed under run-away inflation, wages are dropping, recession is looming.
'Our southern border is under siege, and the enemies of freedom are on the march around the world, and worse still, timeless American values are under assault as never before.
'We're better than this,' he added.
Pence is staking his presidential hopes on Iowa as he holds an event to launch his campaign for the Republican nomination in Des Moines later today.
Pence and his advisers see Iowa - the state that will cast the first votes of the GOP nominating calendar - as key to his potential pathway to the nomination.
Its caucus-goers include a large portion of evangelical Christian voters, whom they see as a natural constituency for Pence.
They also think Pence, who represented Indiana in Congress and as governor, is a good personality fit with the Midwestern state.
His campaign will also test the party's appetite for a socially conservative, mild-mannered and deeply religious candidate who has denounced the populist tide that has swept through his party under former President Donald Trump.
And it will show whether Pence still has a political future after January 6, 2021, with a large portion of GOP voters still believing Trump's claims that the 2020 election was stolen and that Pence had the power to reject the results.
The clip, posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday morning, highlights how his Irish immigrant family 'has lived the American dream', while taking aim at President ' Joe Biden and the radical left for weakening the country at home and abroad'
Pictured: A Pence family photo seen in the campaign video released today
Pence is staking his presidential hopes on Iowa as he holds an event to launch his campaign for the Republican nomination in Des Moines later today. Pictured: Pence's campaign video
The land of opportunity. Beacon of democracy. The shining city on a hill. Land of the free, home of the brave. The United States of America.
As a son of the heartland, grandson of an Irish immigrant, those aren't just words. My family has lived the American Dream. I had the great honor to serve in