OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former Vice President Mike Pence appears to be getting prepared to start a campaign for president in 2024.
Speculation is rampant in Republican circles that the man who was former President Donald Trump’s VP may be on a path to face him in the primaries, The Wall Street Journal reported.
And considering the way the January 6 House Committee praised Pence this week, and the fact that everyone on that committee is anti-Trump, it makes it more plausible that he would be the establishment candidate of choice.
“Vice President Pence did the right thing that day to stay true to his oath to protect and defend the Constitution,” California Democrat Rep. Pete Aguilar said.
“Vice President Pence understood that his oath of office was more important than his loyalty to Donald Trump,” Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said. “He did his duty. President Trump unequivocally did not.”
Committee Chair And Democrat Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson praised pence for his “courage.”
“That courage put him in tremendous danger,” he said. “Mike Pence made it clear that he wouldn’t give in to Donald Trump’s scheme. Donald Trump turned the mob — a mob that was chanting and that had built a hangman’s gallery just outside the Capitol.”
But when he was being praised by the committee he was in Ohio, campaigning for Gov. Mike DeWine and a Republican congressman, which the Journal believes is part of a carefully orchestrated campaign to get back into the national spotlight as he prepares to campaign for president in 2024.
“Everywhere I go across the country, I can tell you, the American people are hurting,” he said. “Inflation is at a 40-year high, $5-a-gallon gas and higher, the crisis at our border that I saw firsthand on Monday. A crime wave impacting our cities. It’s one of the reasons I’m so determined to be out supporting candidates for the House, the Senate and governors.”
“The president and I had very different styles, we’re different men,” he said. “But we were working shoulder-to-shoulder…and we delivered for the American people.”
And he has more appearances on the horizon.
On Monday, Mr. Pence will give a speech in Chicago on economic policy, hitting on high inflation and gas prices. Earlier this week in Arizona, he criticized the Biden administration’s handling of border security and met with local law-enforcement officials and ranchers. He has given speeches on China and appeared before an antiabortion group, reminding the right of his conservative credentials.
Mr. Pence, who had turned into a born-again Christian in college before becoming a radio talk-show host and being elected to Congress and later Indiana’s governor, is a longtime promoter of limited government and ally to social conservative groups.
He has a deal with Simon & Schuster to publish an autobiography, and he is expected to continue traveling to the states that will host the opening rounds of 2024 GOP nomination voting: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
And former President Trump has disputed some of the testimony in the January 6 Committee’s hearings on what he said to former Vice President Mike Pence.
He was speaking to a group of religious conservatives in Nashville, Tennessee at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to the Majority” when he said that he did not call Pence a “wimp,” Politico reported.
“I don’t even know who these people are. But I never called Mike Pence a wimp,” he said. “I never called him a wimp. Mike Pence had a chance to be great. He had a chance to be frankly historic.
“But just like Bill Barr and the rest of these weak people, Mike – and I say it sadly because I liked them – but Mike did not have the courage to act,” he said.
“’Mike was afraid of whatever he was afraid of,” he said. “But as you heard a year and a half ago, Mike Pence had absolutely no choice but to be a human conveyor belt.”
He also teased campaigning for president again in 2024.
“One of the most urgent tasks facing the next Republican president — I wonder who that will be,” he said. “Would anybody like me to run for president?”