In his first political speech since leaving office, former Vice President Mike Pence made it clear that despite his sinister falling out with former President Donald J. Trump, his days of trying to get away with it. pleasing his former boss were far from over as he plotted his policies. future.
Speaking to the Palmetto Family Council, a social-conservative group in South Carolina, on Thursday night, Mr. Pence made no mention of the scathing criticisms Mr. Trump leveled at him for his refusal to try to quash the 2020 presidential election results. He did not mention the attack on Capitol Hill on January 6, which included agitated Trump supporters chanting “Hang Mike Pence” as the president did nothing for hours to stop them .
He did not acknowledge that after standing loyally by Mr. Trump’s side for four years, Mr. Trump threw insulting snatches at the conservative media from his bunker in Mar-a-Lago; This includes an interview with Fox Business in which Mr. Trump said he would consider Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a running mate if he decides to hold another presidential election in 2024.
Instead, Mr. Pence clarified his political calculation: Any possible future in the party for him still depends on remaining closely aligned with Mr. Trump, despite the indignities that accompany it. Mr Pence said he had had the “privilege of serving alongside President Donald Trump” and recalled the good times they had together during the 2016 election campaign.
After explaining how much they intended to campaign in 2016, he recalled, Mr. Trump “looked at me and slapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘And then it’s okay. be awesome. ‘”Mr Pence credited their administration with“ four years of consequences, four years of results and four years of promises made and promises kept.
He recalled Mr. Trump sent him in 2017 to speak at the March for Life. the annual protest by anti-abortion advocates, after Mr. Trump realized he couldn’t attend himself.
“I remember standing next to the Resolute Desk,” Mr. Pence recalled, noting that he had been “kinda shy,” to say to Mr. Trump, “Well, you know, they got me. also invited. ”
Mr. Trump looked up at him, he recalls, and “he said, ‘Well, you should definitely go.'”
Mr Pence has been silent since leaving office, including avoiding Republican rallies like the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. He underwent successful surgery this month to have a pacemaker implanted and signed a contract to write a book about his tenure as vice president.
Mr Pence has spoken to Mr Trump frequently since the two left office, according to an aide. They hooked up most recently, the assistant said, when Mr Trump called him after his pacemaker procedure.
In public, however, Mr. Trump continued to criticize his former No.2 loyalist. Speaking to party donors this month, Mr. Trump shrugged off the script to say he was “disappointed” with Mr. Pence for presiding over the certification of the Election Results.
In his speech, Pence also criticized the Biden administration for advancing what he called “an avalanche of liberal policies”, vowed “to cancel culture wherever it occurs” and asserted that the Republican Party was the one that “recognizes this electoral integrity. is a national imperative. “
“To have enough?” he said of Mr. Biden’s program. “I have.”