Former vice president Mike Pence tore into his former boss while perhaps giving the strongest indication yet that he is plotting a run for the White House in 2024.
Pence, 63, was speaking at the Gridiron Club’s annual dinner in Washington DC on Saturday night along side New Jersey’s Democratic Governor Phil Murphy and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
To start of his remarks, Pence joked with the audience about his future plans. ‘I will wholeheartedly unreservedly support the Republican nominee for president in 2024. If it’s me,’ the former Indiana governor said.
Pence continued the lighthearted theme, making fun of President Joe Biden‘s age while adding that Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg was the ‘only person in human history to have a child and all the rest of us get port partum depression.’
The mood turned somber when Pence began to speak about January 6th. Pence and Trump have been estranged since the violent storming of the Capitol by Trump’s supporters in an attempt to stop the congressional certification of Biden’s victory.
At the Gridiron Club’s annual dinner in Washington DC on Saturday, former Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday harshly criticized former President Donald Trump
Pence’s remarks were the sharpest condemnation yet from the once-loyal lieutenant who has often shied away from confronting his former boss
In the days leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, Trump pressured Pence to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory
Pence joked Saturday that the birth of Pete Buttigieg’s twins gave the rest of the country post partum depression
‘I was not afraid, I was angry. President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election and his reckless words, his dangers, my family and everyone at the Capitol that day. And I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable.’
The dinner is a Washington tradition. The Gridiron Club was founded in 1885, just after the election of Grover Cleveland. He never attended a dinner, but every president since has been at least once.
Fifteen journalists formed the club and instituted the formal dinner, in modern times held every year at a downtown Washington hotel in a setting less glitzy and celebrity-studded than its more famous cousin, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Pence continued speaking about January 6th, seemingly taking aim at Fox News host Tucker Carlson and others who have sought to portray the events that day as peaceful and overblown by the mainstream media.
‘It was not as some would have us believe a matter of tourists peacefully entering the building,’ the former VP said.
‘Tourists don’t injure 140 police officers… tourists don’t break down doors to get to the Speaker of the House or threaten public officials.’
Pence talks on the phone from a secured loading dock at the U.S. Capitol as he looks at another phone with a recording of video statement President Donald Trump on Jan. 6
Pence looks at a mobile device from a secured loading dock at the U.S. Capitol
Pence described the events as a ‘disgrace.’
‘Together here, for as long as I live, I will never ever diminish the injuries sustained or the lives lost or the heroism of law enforcement on that tragic day,’ he added.
Pence also took time to joke about Trump’s fragile ego saying that the former Apprentice host wanted his vice president to sing ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ — one of the lines is ‘did you ever know that you’re my hero?’ — during their weekly lunches.
He took another shot at Trump over classified documents.
‘I read that some of those classified documents they found at Mar-a-Lago were actually stuck in the president’s Bible,’ Pence said. ‘Which proves he had absolutely no idea they were there.’
The conservative then thanked members of the media for continuing to report on the events of January 6th.
‘The American people now what happened that day. Because you never stopped before. Your work inspired our actions of all the elected officials who reconvened the very same day and turn the date of tragedy into a triumph of freedom,’ he said.
Despite admitting that the media at times ‘infuriates’ him and that he ‘infuriates’ them, Pence said: ‘I genuinely value what you do to keep us a democracy.’
‘Thomas Jefferson said our liberty depends on the freedom of the press. And that cannot be limited without being lost. Without a free press and freedom,’ the potential presidential candidate concluded.
Earlier this month, Pence declined to say Thursday whether he would back Donald Trump if his former boss were to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2024.
Pence suggested that Trump’s leadership style isn’t what the party needs in the upcoming White House race.
‘I think we’ll have better choices,’ Pence told The Associated Press in an interview in South Carolina. ‘I’m persuaded that no one could have defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 except Donald Trump, but I think we live in a different time and it calls for different leadership.’
Pence suggested that Trump’s leadership style isn’t what the party needs in the upcoming White House race
At the time of those comments, Pence was his ninth trip to the early-voting state since leaving office, participated in a policing roundtable with officials in North Charleston.
Pence said he would make a decision about 2024 ‘by the spring.’ Already in the race are Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Others who could join them include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
‘The American people want us to return to the policies of the Trump-Pence administration, but I think they want to see leadership that reflects more of the character of the American people: namely the commitment to principle and the civility that Americans show each other every day,’ Pence said.
‘And so, if we enter the fray, we will offer that kind of leadership.’
Pence was asked whether he was making the case that he was the best choice for Republican voters who supported Trump administration policies but not Trump now. Pence didn’t answer directly.
‘I promise you, if I become a candidate for president of the United States, I’ll be me,’ Pence said. ‘I will do it all in a way that I’ve always aspired to do, and that is show the kind of respect to people, even of differing opinions, that I think the American people show each other every day.
‘We’ve just got to have government as good as our people again, and I’m confident that, someday soon, we will,’ he said.