Mike Pence says voters are ready to overtake Trump for a ‘fresh start’

In an exclusive ABC News interview, former Vice President Mike Pence expressed his displeasure at the possible arrest of former President Donald Trump and developed pointed remarks regarding his former boss and the Capitol insurgency. – as well as his vision for the future of the country. he is considering a possible presidential candidacy in 2024.

During a meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, which aired on Sunday, Pence told ABC’s “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl that Trump’s handling of Jan. 6 was one of the reasons the country and, perhaps more accurately, Republicans need a “fresh start.”

“The President is wrong. He was wrong that day and…I had actually hoped that he would come back in time, Jon, that he would see that the group of legal advisers he was surrounding himself with had led him astray” , Pence said after Karl played a clip of Trump defending the rioters. “But he didn’t and that’s, I think, one of the reasons why the country just wants a fresh start.”

Pence, who has traveled the country and recently published a memoir, was quick to suggest his party should look elsewhere for White House candidates, repeatedly saying he was confident there would be “better picks” than Trump even though he says he hasn’t made up his mind to take the plunge yet.

He told Karl that any hypothetical support for Trump in the 2024 race is “yet to be seen” – though he wouldn’t rule it out while again indicating that there will be other options for him. American people.

“We’ll decide as a family if we come forward as one of them, but I think different times call for different leadership,” Pence said.

“I think the American people yearn for leadership at the highest level that focuses on the issues that affect their lives. And also, I think they yearned for leadership that would keep faith with our highest traditions,” he said. he declared.

But he remained vague on exactly when he might announce. He said he and his family hoped to make a decision by spring, but when Karl followed he hesitated, adding only that he was “coming closer” amid “prayerful consideration”.

Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the National Press Club, November 30, 2021, in Washington.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Responsibility of January 6

Since leaving office in 2021, Pence has worked to separate himself from Trump over the Jan. 6 violence and the related push to void the 2020 presidential election. At the same time, he said that he remained proud of the administration’s work and legislative accomplishments — on tax cuts, on military spending, on the border and more — which he reiterated in his ABC News interview, just days after he first took on the job. reprimanded Trump again. choice around the attack on the Capitol.

Speaking at the white-tie Gridiron dinner in Washington, Pence said earlier this month that “history will hold Donald Trump accountable for January 6.”

Although the event was not recorded, his quotes were published by reporters in attendance – and he went further in his “This Week” interview.

“We all face the judgment of history, and I believe in the fullness of time that history will hold Donald Trump accountable for the events of January 6, as will others involved,” he said.

Karl asked him, “In what ways?”

“Well, that will be the judgment of history, I really believe in that. And I also think the American people will have a say in it as well,” Pence said. “I mean the president is running for office again, he’s running for office, but as I travel the country, I’m confident the American people learned the lessons of that day.”

Pence said he had his own strong feelings about what happened, but seemed to put that aside for a larger message as he assessed a potential campaign.

“I was angry that day. And even though I believe in forgiveness, I’ve been working hard on it for a while. The president let me down that day. … but be honest with you guys. emotions of that day, the emotions since, I simply haven’t had the time. [Biden] administration that I don’t have much time to look back.”

Pressed by Karl if he still finds Trump a man of his word, Pence admitted he was personally disappointed in Trump, although he believes the couple have delivered on their administration’s promises.

“Issue after issue I’ve seen the President deliver on his word to the American people and I was proud those four years of being by his side. And I know that annoys some people in the national media, Jon,” Pence said. .

“As I wrote in my book, I’m incredibly proud of our administration’s record,” he said, though he acknowledged, “it didn’t end well, it ended ended in controversy”.

Karl returned to the question, “I’m not asking you about the case. I’m asking you about the man.”

“I was deeply disappointed with the President’s words and conduct in the days leading up to January 6 and January 6. … And I continue to be disappointed that the President did not see his clear path. to know that by the grace of God, we did our duty that day,” he said.

What happened on Capitol Hill turned into a breaking point, Pence said, despite his private conversations with Trump.

“When the president committed to a peaceful transfer of power [right after Jan. 6]when he condemned the violence on Capitol Hill I thought we were back on track and in the week that followed we would have spoken, I was very direct with him about my experience, and my view of it- ci, and my belief that I’ve done my duty and parted amicably and respectfully,” he said. why we broke up.”

In response to Pence’s Gridiron remarks, Trump told reporters that Pence was partly responsible for the riot because of his refusal as Senate Speaker to stop certification of the presidential election results.

Trump also hit out at Pence’s lagging popularity in the polls of Republican primary voters.

“I heard his statement, and I guess he decided being nice wasn’t working because he’s 3% in the polls, so he figured he might as well not be nice anymore. nice,” Trump told a group of reporters aboard his plane. en route to Iowa last week.

The GOP cracks down on Ukraine

Trump isn’t the only other Republican with whom Pence has found noted disagreement. On the Russian invasion, he contrasted his views with those of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Republicans like him who voice skepticism about US aid to Ukraine as they fend off the Russian invasion.

DeSantis recently called the invasion a “territorial dispute.” Pence stressed to Karl that he felt it was crucial to stand with the Ukrainians.

“The war in Ukraine is not a territorial dispute. It is a Russian invasion. This is just the latest example of Russia’s attempt to redraw international lines by force,” he said, “and the United States of America must continue at an accelerated pace to provide the Ukrainian military with the support it needs to repel the Russian invasion, and the stakes are so high.”

Although he said there was no place in the GOP for “Putin apologists,” Pence did not further criticize DeSantis by name. However, he added that “there are voices in our party that don’t see a vital American interest in Ukraine, but I see it differently,” and he said he finds DeSantis’ point of view on the “false” question.

PHOTO: ABC News' Jon Karl interviews former Vice President Mike Pence on

ABC News’ Jon Karl interviews former Vice President Mike Pence on “This Week.”

ABC News

Karl asked Pence what he thought of Trump’s recent comments on Ukraine, calling for a ceasefire that could preserve the current status quo with Russia controlling some Ukrainian land.

“Whether it’s President Trump or other members of our party across the country, there are those who see a choice before us other than to give Ukraine the ability to fight and win against the invasion. Russian. I think it’s imperative that we stand firm,” Pence said. , “that we continue to provide the Ukrainian army with the resources it needs to repel the Russian invasion. And this will be the fastest way to ensure peace and stability in Ukraine and Eastern Europe .”

A potential arrest of Trump

There is one major area where Pence and Trump agree: Trump’s possible arrest.

On his social media platform on Saturday morning, Trump claimed he would be taken into custody on Tuesday as part of the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into allegedly hidden money paid to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. Trump also called on his supporters to protest.

He denied any wrongdoing, including denying having an affair with Daniels, but admitted paying for it – once defending it as “very common among celebrities and wealthy people”.

A Trump spokesperson appeared to walk back his arrest comments in a later statement over the weekend, saying in part that there had been no notification that Trump’s potential arrest was coming on Tuesday and that “Trump rightly points to his innocence and the militarization of our system of injustice. .”

Pence echoed Karl.

“It looks like a politically charged pursuit here. And I, for one, just feel like that’s just not what Americans want to see,” he said.

He said he believed Trump was “innocent until proven guilty.”

Karl asked Pence about his reaction to Trump’s call for protests if he should be taken into custody – which echoed Trump’s push for protests before and during Jan. 6.

Pence did not disavow Trump’s call, citing that “the American people have the constitutional right to peaceful assembly,” although he stressed that any protests should take place “peacefully and lawfully.”

ABC News has not verified Trump’s claims.

Although Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office had no comment, he wrote in an email to staff obtained by ABC News that “we do not condone any intimidation attempts by our office or threaten the rule of law in New York”.

“I know President Trump can take care of himself and — and that process will happen, if in fact an indictment comes through,” Pence told Karl. “But I just have to tell you that the politicization we’re seeing…is deeply troubling to millions of Americans who want to see equal treatment under the law.”

ABC News

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