Former Vice President Mike Pence has appeared in a unique position since the January 6 hearing.
To some Democrats in Congress, he is a hero to resist Donald J. Trump’s pressure campaign to overturn the 2020 elections when American democracy appears to be at stake. It became something like. For Mr. Trump and his political foundation, Mr. Pence is a vulnerable person who has given up his presidency. And for a swarm of anti-Trump voters from both parties, he was willing to defend or ignore some of Mr. Trump’s previous excesses, and then many years too late, finally by confronting his former boss. It’s just someone who has done the right thing.
The whip saw in the image creates an uncertain foundation for the potential presidential campaign that Mr. Pence has laid the foundation for. Still, the former Vice President continues to travel around the country, navigating his unfortunate position prior to the 2024 primary.
As after the 2020 election, Pence continued to walk the tightrope to get the most out of the situation as he tried to keep tensions with Mr. Trump private. He did not pursue without openly hostile to the president he served and remained a leader of the Republican Party.
Mr. Pence himself said almost nothing about January 6, but when Mr. Trump and his allies tried to pressure him to overturn President Biden’s victory, his aides talked about his determination. I testified. In an economic speech at Chicago’s Universal Club on Monday, Mr. Pence sounded like a candidate, but someone interested in discussing the details of what he lived on January 6th. It wasn’t like that.
“We’ve had a lot of experience over the last few years,” Pence told the audience. “It’s like a global epidemic, social unrest, divisive elections, tragic days in our country’s capital, and every day the government drives our economy into the depths of a socialist welfare state.”
Insight into Mr. Pence’s thinking at the time came primarily from the testimony of his former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Short, and his former adviser, Greg Jacob. Mr. Pence has continued to look at the Biden administration and the election of Republicans in fierce conflict with Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp and Mr. Trump, as revealed in his Chicago speech. If Mr. Pence says more sharply, he may not do so until the fall when the book comes out.
“The situation Mike Pence is facing is a political briar patch,” said David Kochel, a Republican strategist who worked on the Jeb Bush presidential campaign in 2016. The more people at Trump’s base, the more skeptical of their loyalty to the Trump team. “There is no benefit to him leaning towards one of these,” he added.
Later on Monday in Peoria, Illinois, Mr. Pence urged the Republicans to focus on the future, not the 2020 presidential election.
“Let’s cast a positive vision on the future of the American people for the next few days until election day,” Pence told a crowd of Republican activists at a Lincoln Day supper. “Yes, be a loyal opponent. Let the other side take responsibility every day. From now until the day of the election, we need to say you yes — Jesus in the future, Jesus is the future of freedom and our precious values. And the Republican Party must be the party of the future. “
January 6 House Committee Hearing Theme
Mr. Pence praised the achievements of the “Trump Pence administration” three times and told a high school reunion that his former classmates encouraged him by saying, “You need to come back.”
In his speech, Republican Chairman Kathy Sparrow of Hancock County, Illinois, shouted, “Pence to the President!” Mr Pence ignored the cry.
“Trump was his turn,” Sparrow said after Mr. Pence’s remarks. “It’s time for Pence to step up and run.”
Attention to Mr. Pence brings both potential benefits and dangers as he is considering running for president.
Democratic Pean certainly doesn’t help him, but his actions before, during, and after January 6 are an opportunity to differentiate himself in the crowded key areas that may include Mr. Trump. Give him. Mr. Pence, whose support for Mr. Trump helped ease concerns about him from evangelical voters in 2016, has the advantage of starting as a known entity of the Republican base.
Mr. Pence tried to bet lanes for himself by expressing the side of the Trump White House that appealed to the conservatives, but there was no crude and sometimes abusive behavior from Mr. Trump who was tired of them. was. However, this approach is complicated by the fact that the greatest praise for Mr. Pence came from Democrats who voted to impeach Mr. Trump.
“In an era of absolutely scandalous betrayal where people’s oaths of office and crime are everywhere, someone who does their job and sticks to the law will stand out as a hero that day,” said the Maryland Democratic Party. Jamie Raskin, a member of the House Select Commission investigating the January 6 attack, said in NBC News’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “And that day he was a hero.”
However, many other Democrats are known to be cautious and loyal, and Pence, who didn’t break up with Mr. Trump until the end, was praised, especially because he thought the campaign was the next one. I resist the idea that it should. president.
“Pence is now on his own political rehabilitation tour hoping to get rid of the stink of being Trump’s vice president,” Pence recently traveled to the southern border of the state. At that time, the Democratic Party of Arizona said in a blast mail. “But just because Mike Pence didn’t give in on January 6th doesn’t change the fact that he missed multiple opportunities to do the right thing for four years.”
Other Democrats, including members of the Democratic National Committee, stuck closely with Mr. Trump during some of the president’s biggest controversies, including the first impeachment, and Mr. Pence spoke publicly. About his view until just before the official recognition of the election began on January 6, emphasizing that it was not.
Nonetheless, even some of the toughest critics of the Trump era said the action of January 6 should not be underestimated.
“It’s true that Mike Pence colluded with Trump’s groundless election plot in the months and weeks before the election,” said former President Barack Obama’s former chief adviser David Axelrod. Said. “He certainly didn’t dispute, but in the end, he would resist enormous pressure and literally remember one important moment when he died for our democracy. And for that, he deserves all the praise he received. “
Democratic dissatisfaction focuses not only on his tolerance for actions that break Mr. Trump’s norms, but also on the policies of the administration. Mr. Pence’s aides say he believed that the administration had enacted policies that he generally agreed to, including placing conservative candidates in the three seats of the Supreme Court. His long loyalty to Mr. Trump can resonate with some Republicans, but it’s hard to walk because the former president demands full loyalty.
“Ironically, Pence was arguably Trump’s main driver,” said Rob Stutzman, a California-based Republican strategist. “He was a mainstream traditional conservative Republican, not only going to donors and defending Trump and his policies, but also frankly claiming that Donald J. Trump was a good man.”
Mr. Pence’s former Chief of Staff, Mr. Short, was critical of the work side of the House Commission when Mr. Trump advised his supporters to consider the panel illegal. It allowed Mr. Pence to keep some distance from the work of the committee that did not appear before himself.
Authorities are expected to try again to seek testimony from Mr. Pence. He will probably resist. On Sunday, California Democrat and Commission member Adam Schiff left open the idea that demanding his presence might still happen.
“It’s certainly possible,” Schiff said. “At this point, we are not excluding anyone or anything.”
Maggie Huberman Report from New York, and Reed J. Epstein From Peoria, Illinois.