Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that he believes Republicans are ready to deviate from Donald Trump in 2024, while weighing in on the potential field of Republicans who could challenge President Biden in his re-election bid.
“As I’ve traveled around the country over the last two years, people have repeatedly come up to me and said ‘We want to get back to the policies of the Trump-Pence administration.’ But I think there’s a genuine desire for leadership that could unite the country around our highest ideals and for more of the civility and respect that Americans show each other every day,” he told “Fox & Friends” hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade.
Pence’s words come after former President Trump tossed his hat into the ring by announcing his presidential bid Tuesday, a move which garnered criticism from some Republicans who argue the focus should be on the Dec. 6 Georgia Senate runoff between Herschel Walker, R., and Sen. Raphael Warnock, D.
“I’m out of politics now, and once you get out of politics, and you move back to Indiana, you realize the American people actually get along pretty well most days, and it’s our politics that’s deeply divided.
“I think I have a sense that the American people want a new style of leadership that’ll reflect the way they deal with one another every day,” he said.
Pence called Trump the “right man at the right time” in 2016 and argued he was the only candidate who could have defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton while voicing his pride in the progress the Trump-Pence administration made while serving, including Supreme Court appointments.
“I joined that ticket in 2016 without hesitation because I thought the country was in a lot of trouble, and it was… now I believe we’re in a different season in the life of the nation and I don’t know what role my family and I will play in that debate over the next two years. We’ll work that out in the days ahead…” he added.
Pence also delved into what he described as an “amicable” parting with Trump as he described his first meeting with the former president after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
“I was always loyal to President Donald Trump. He was my president, and he was my friend,” he said. “The only higher loyalty I had was to God and to the Constitution, and I made it clear to the president in the lead-up to that tragic day in January that I believed my oath to the Constitution, that ended with the prayer ‘so help me God,’ would require me to certify the election, an election that we lost…”
Pence argued that no one person could decide the presidency and that the presidency instead belongs to the American people
“I went into his office and… he asked me what I felt that day and I told him I was angry. We had our differences and seeing those people ransacking the Capitol infuriated me,” he said.
“I was very candid with him, we were very straightforward with each other. I sensed, in the president, genuine remorse for what had happened.”
Pence said he reminded Trump that he would never stop praying for him, but said they later decided to go their separate ways after Trump returned to rhetoric that he claimed called into question his loyalty to the Constitution.