Former Vice President Mike Pence, 64, has joined the super-crowded Republican race for president.
Pence filed the papers at the Federal Election Commission on Monday to declare his candidacy and released a launch video on Wednesday in which he said that “different times call for different leadership.”
An evangelical Christian, the former vice president added in the video that the nation needs a leader who will “appeal, as Lincoln said, to the better angels of our nature.
““We can bring this country back. We can defend our nation and secure our border. We could revive our economy, and put our nation back on a path to a balanced budget, defend our liberties and give America a new beginning for life,” he added.
Pence served as a member of Congress, and then as Governor of Indiana before being tapped by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to become his running mate in the 2016 elections.
Pence, who now face Trump as a rival in the current electoral campaign for the 2024 presidential election, spoke with pride of the administration’s accomplishments in a half-hour speech delivered Wednesday at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa.
But he came out swinging over the events on January 6, and the behavior of his former boss.
About January 6
“The former president continues to insist that I had the right to overturn the election. President Trump was wrong then, and he is wrong now,” Pence declared.
“I will always believe, by God’s grace, I did my duty on that day. I kept my oath to ensure the peaceful transfer of power under the Constitution and the laws of this country.
“The American people deserve to know, on that day, President Trump also demanded I choose between him and the Constitution,” he shared.
“Now voters will be faced with the same choice. I chose the Constitution, and I always will,” Pence said.
“I believe that anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States. And anyone who asks someone else to put them over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again.”
On Current DOJ Investigation Targeting Trump
Pence stopped short of endorsing the predicted Department of Justice indictment of his former boss over his alleged mishandling of classified documents, saying, “Indicting a former president in the United States sends a terrible message to the world.”
The DOJ informed Trump’s legal team that he is a target in the special counsel investigation, US media reported Wednesday.
“This kind of action by the Department of Justice I think would only fuel further division in the country,” he said at a CNN town hall in Des Moines. “I hope the DOJ thinks better of it and resolves these issues without an indictment.”
11 GOP Candidates
The Republican tally of those running in the race for president is becoming increasingly crowded.
Former Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton announced on November 11, 2022, that he would run.
Donald Trump declared his candidacy in the race on November 15, 2022. The former president still refuses to accept his defeat in the 2020 election.
Former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announced her candidacy on February 14, 2023. Haley is popular among women and supporters of Israel.
Entrepreneur and political commentator Vivek Ramaswamy entered the race on February 21, 2023
Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on April 2, 2023, that he would run.
Talk radio host and former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder declared his candidacy on April 20, 2023.
South Carolina US Senator Tim Scott announced his candidacy on May 22, 2023
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on May 24, 2023, that he was joining the race as well. DeSantis is currently considered the strongest candidate after Trump and is especially popular with conservatives and Republican Jews.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie launched his candidacy on June 6, 2023. This would be Christie’s second attempt to beat Trump in a primary; he also ran for the 2016 presidential nomination.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum announced on June 7, 2023, that he, too, was joining the race. Pence announced his candidacy the same day.
Narrowing Down the Field
The Republican Party will select its presidential nominee at the 2024 Republican National Convention, which will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from July 15-18, 2024.
Before the convention, each state, Washington, DC, and five US territories will hold a primary, caucus, or convention to decide how to allocate delegates at the national convention, according to Ballotpedia.
The nominating events typically begin in February of an election year, though 2024 primary dates are still uncertain.
The Republican National Committee will begin holding primary debates this August (2023), with the first debate set to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.