Mike Pence is making the rounds with television interviews to promote his new book. “So Help Me God”, a memoir, is being released today. Pence is answering questions about Trump’s likely announcement tonight that he will run for president in 2024, as well as his thoughts on what happened on January 6. And, everyone is asking if Pence intends to run for president himself in 2024.
I’ve only seen one interview with Pence and that was on Hannity’s show Monday night. Hannity has known Pence was many years so the interview was friendly and flattering to Pence. Hannity is also a friend and adviser to Trump but that didn’t slow down Hannity from asking about the events of January 6 and a potential presidential run. I like Mike Pence and I think he’s a decent man. He clearly is testing the waters at this point but, in the end, I do not think he will run in the Republican presidential primary. I don’t think he will catch on as potential presidential material.
Pence published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week. In it he said he supported legitimate challenges to the 2020 vote counts but he knew the Constitution didn’t give him the authority to override the voters. He followed his conscience on January 6. Pence recalled that he encouraged Trump to accept the results of his legal challenges to the election and he could make a political comeback in 2024.
Pence went on to say he knew that he knew January 6 would be a long day, as Trump and his most loyal supporters were pressuring him on behalf of Trump to block congressional certification of the election.
I rose early that day and worked on my statement to Congress. When the phone rang a little after 11 a.m., it was the president. “Despite the press release you issued last night,” I said, “I have always been forthright with you, Mr. President.” I reiterated that I didn’t believe I had the power to decide which electoral votes would count and said I would be issuing a statement to Congress confirming that before the joint session started.
The president laid into me. “You’ll go down as a wimp,” he said. “If you do that, I made a big mistake five years ago!”
But when he said, “You’re not protecting our country, you’re supposed to support and defend our country!” I calmly reminded him, “We both took an oath to support and defend the Constitution.”
As I headed to the Capitol, President Trump took the stage. He told the crowd: “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.” Repeating the argument made by the crank lawyers standing just offstage, he said, “All he has to do, all this is, this is from the No. 1, or certainly one of the top, constitutional lawyers in our country. . . . All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people.”
The rest is history. Pence met with Trump on January 11 and explained that he was angry with Trump about what happened during the protest that turned into a riot.
ABC’s David Muir asked Pence, “Do you believe that Donald Trump should ever be president again?”
“David, I think that’s up to the American people,” Pence responded. “But I think we’ll have better choices in the future.”
“People in this country actually get along pretty well once you get out of politics,” Pence told Muir. “And I think they want to see their national leader start to reflect that same, that same compassion and generosity of spirit. And I think, so in the days ahead, I think there will be better choices.”
That’s pretty clear. It’s a no, Pence doesn’t think Trump should be president again. Muir asked if he was going to run for president and Pence hedged.
“Will you run for president in 2024?” Muir asked Pence.
“We’re giving it consideration in our house,” Pence replied. “Prayerful consideration.”
In the interview with Hannity, Pence answered that question by saying he and his wife, Karen, would talk with the rest of his family during the holidays and see what they have to say about it.
The memoir provides an outlet in which to get his story out about what happened on January 6 and the lead-up to that day. He wants it to be known that he did what he thought was his constitutional duty. He’s human with a healthy ego, though, and he’s not tamping down speculation that he may run in the GOP primary. It’s good for book sales. It’s just my opinion but I think he’ll keep everyone guessing about the 2024 primary, as other potential candidates are doing, until after Trump’s announcement and the fall-out from that. He has plenty of time. He has name recognition and a strong political resume, in other words, he doesn’t have to introduce himself to voters. Republicans know him. When push comes to shove, though, I don’t see him running. As he said, elections are about the future and voters will tire of Trump’s obsession with talking about 2020. Unfortunately for Pence, he is also a part of the past. Voters are ready to move on and support fresh faces.