Former Vice President Mike Pence has launched his campaign for the 2024 Presidential race, breaking away from his previous alliance with Donald Trump. In his campaign kickoff in Ankeny, Iowa, Pence not only diverged from Trump but also resorted to making disparaging remarks about the former President. Pence criticized Trump, claiming that he disregarded the U.S. constitution and deviated from true conservative ideals. This marks a significant shift as Pence now challenges the very person he once stood beside in the corridors of power from 2017 to 2021.
In his address, Pence attempted to paint Trump as having forced him to make a choice between “him [Trump] and the constitution.” Yet many firmly believe that Trump was not asking Pence to overstep any legal or constitutional boundaries. Rather, he was advocating for the electors to be returned to the states for a recertification of the election given the unusual circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented influx of mail-in votes. To a significant number of observers, this seemed like a reasonable demand, one that could have potentially influenced the final results of the election. Pence declared:
“But 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: I chose the constitution and I always will.”
“I believe that anyone who puts themselves over the constitution should never be president of the United States. And anyone who asked someone else to put them over the constitution should never be president of the United States again.”
Pence put forth criticisms of Trump’s stance on Ukraine, revealing a perspective akin to Joe Biden’s approach, one that seemingly accepts the unfortunate reality of war and its consequences, as long as the end result is Ukraine’s victory and an expansion of NATO. He stated:
“Donald Trump and others who would seek the presidency would walk away from our traditional role on the world stage.”
Finally, Pence shifted his focus away from taking jabs at Trump, addressing the politically charged indictments and investigations aimed at the former president. He acknowledged the detrimental global impact of such actions, stating:
“Indicting a former president in the United States sends a terrible message to the world.”