Pence: 'We Will Have Better Choices' Than Trump

Former VP says voters want 'new leadership' in 2024
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 17, 2022 7:10 PM CST
Pence: 'We Will Have Better Choices' Than Trump
Former Vice President Mike Pence sits for an interview with the Associated Press, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in New York.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that voters are "looking for new leadership" following the disappointing midterm elections for Republicans, who are now openly debating whether his onetime boss, Donald Trump, should maintain a leading role in the party. In an interview with the AP, Pence implicitly positioned himself as a potential alternative for Republicans seeking conservative leadership without the chaos of the Trump era. "I think we will have better choices in 2024," he said, adding he and his family will gather over the holidays to consider "what our role might be in the days ahead." He noted Trump's "continued efforts to relitigate the last election played a role" in Republican losses, but said "each individual candidate is responsible for their own campaign."

Pence—who is promoting his new memoir, So Help Me God, released on the same day that Trump made his White House bid official—remained largely reticent to criticize Trump beyond the insurrection. That hesitance reflects the reality that the former president remains enormously popular with the GOP base that Pence would need to win over to be competitive in primary contests should he launch a presidential campaign of his own. "It wasn't exactly the style of presidency that I would have advanced had I been the first name on the ballot," Pence said of his unlikely partnership with Trump. "But it was his presidency and I was there to support him and help him. And until that fateful day in January 2021, I sought to do just that."

"I'll never forget the simmering indignation that I felt that day," Pence said. "I couldn't help but think not this, not here, not in America." He added Trump's tweets criticizing him "were reckless, and they endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol building. The president had decided to be a part of the problem." Today, "the American people are looking for new leadership that could unite our country around our highest ideals and that would reflect the respect and civility the American people show to one another every day, while still advancing the policies that we advanced during those years of service," he said. One signal of that is that candidates who questioned the 2020 results "did not do as well" in the midterms as those "focused on the future." Read more from the interview here. (More Mike Pence stories.)

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