Mike Pence, who served as the vice president of the United States in former President Donald Trump’s administration, has filed paperwork to run for president.
Pence enters an already crowded field of GOP candidates: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Trump have all announced their presidential campaigns. Pence will turn 64 on Wednesday, the day he announces his candidacy.
Trump currently leads the field, while DeSantis consistently polls in second place. According to a late May Quinnipiac University poll, Trump had 56%, DeSantis had 25%, Pence polls about the same (2%) as Scott and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who will announce his candidacy later this week), and Haley received 3% support.
Pence grew up in Indiana and represented his fellow Hoosiers in the United States House of Representatives. Here, according to his Advancing American Freedom, “he established himself as a champion of limited government, fiscal responsibility, economic development, educational opportunity, and the U.S. Constitution.”
The former vice president was elected governor of Indiana in 2013, and in 2016, Trump selected him as his running mate. Voters elected Trump and Pence on November 8, 2016, and the Trump-Pence administration began on January 20, 2017.
An archived list of the administration’s chief accomplishments includes an “unprecedented economic boom,” tax relief for the middle class, massive deregulation, fair and reciprocal trade, American energy independence, investments in America’s workers and families, the administration’s “life-saving response to the China virus,” great health care for Americans, a historic number of judicial appointments — including the Supreme Court justices who would help overturn Roe v. Wade, securing the border, restoring American leadership abroad, rebuilding the military, protecting veterans, and more.
Pence’s “Freedom Agenda” builds on these accomplishments.
“The Trump-Pence team fought for and protected American liberty for every American of every race, color, and creed,” Advancing American Freedom says on its website. “In 48 months, the Trump-Pence administration achieved the lowest unemployment, the highest household incomes, the most energy production, the most pro-American trade deals, the most secure border, and the strongest military in the history of the world.”
The organization adds: “The U.S. Constitution begins with ‘We the People,’ and We the People have had enough of destructive policies. We must return to the pro-freedom policies of Presidents Reagan and Trump. What follows are some ideas for how – together – we can advance American culture, American opportunity, American leadership, and ultimately Advance American Freedom once again.”
Following the 2020 presidential election and the Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021, Trump and Pence grew apart. Trump has heavily criticized Pence’s actions related to that event, and recently, Pence has begun to do the same to Trump.
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said in March. “I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
“Make no mistake about it, what happened that day was a disgrace,” Pence added. “And it mocks decency to portray it any other way.”
That’s not the only issue on which Pence and Trump have butted heads.
In an interview with The Daily Signal earlier this year, Pence took a hard stance against Trump’s claim that pro-life voters cost the GOP the 2022 midterm elections.
“I strongly disagree,” he said, “and I believe that the facts speak for themselves.”
The former vice president argued (in line with messaging from top pro-life groups) that Republican candidates who articulated a “clear, unambiguous commitment to life” did very well in the midterm elections compared to Republican candidates who “shied away from the issue or who allowed Democrats to define their position.”
“That, to me, was the lesson in 2022,” Pence said.
He added of Trump, “The president is entitled to his opinion, but I think the facts speak otherwise.”
Even if this had not been the case, if pro-lifers did tank the GOP in the midterms, Pence believes “the cause of life is so much more important than politics.”
“It may take us as long to restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law in all 50 states as it took us to overturn Roe v. Wade, but we can never rest and we can never relent until we achieve that victory for life.”
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