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There Were Six Key Takeaways from Former Vice President Mike Pence’s Town Hall Appearance on CNN

In a CNN town hall on Wednesday, former Vice President Mike Pence declined to pledge his support for former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign and left the door open to running for the Republican nomination himself.

Speaking a day after the publication of his biography, “So Help Me God,” Vice President Pence generally kept his personal aspirations under wraps while praising the policy priorities of the Trump administration. However, when questioned about the violence at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, Pence was more forthright. During his public life, the former vice president described it as “the most challenging day.”

Pence also discussed his own thoughts on that particular day and his opinions on the nature of American politics in the wake of a presidency that, in his opinion, did not go well. Observations from the town hall are as follows: Pence responds to Trump’s 2024 announcement by saying “better alternatives”.

In response to a question regarding Trump’s newly announced presidential run, Pence stated that he thought there would be “better choices” on the ballot in two years. Ad Feedback Pence left open the potential that he might be one of those better possibilities.

Pence assured the event’s moderator, CNN’s Jake Tapper, “I’ll keep you updated.” Pence had earlier made the following statement as he struggled to answer a question about Trump: “I think it’s time for new leadership in this country that can unite us around our finest ideals.”

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Pence responded, “There may be someone else in that contest I’d prefer more,” in response to Tapper’s question on his future. Pence referred to it as the “most challenging day of my public life.” “I considered it crucial that, in my capacity as vice president, I provided the president with confidential advice and counsel. And we did,” Pence stated in reference to the day he was persuaded to launch an unlawful attempt to block or overturn the election results by Trump and other people who were affiliated with the then-president.

Pence claimed that something deeper than their connection was the driving force behind his choice to defy Trump’s requests. “God and the Constitution were my two higher loyalties. And because I had taken an oath to uphold the US Constitution, it is what started the clash that would occur on January 6,” Pence stated.

Breaking with the man who chose him as his running partner before the 2016 election and brought him so close to the White House “was painful,” Pence admitted. But I’ll always think we did our job that day supporting the US Constitution, the laws of this nation, and the peaceful transfer of power, he continued.

Pence claimed that he became angry with Trump in the days that followed over the former president’s involvement in the violent uprising. Pence argued that the president’s remarks and tweets from that day were careless. “They put everyone at the Capitol, including my family, in danger.”

But Pence also put an end to any rumors that he could testify on January 6 before the House select committee looking into the matter, claiming that “Congress has no entitlement to my testimony.” He claimed it would violate the separation of powers and “erode the dynamic” between a president and vice president of a congressional committee called a vice president to testify on discussions made at the White House.

The former vice president expressed sadness upon seeing the images of the January 6 protesters yelling “Hang Mike Pence,” but claimed that at the time, “it irritated me.” Pence said he told Secret Service he would not go, insisting he stay at his post, in part because he did not want the mob to see his motorcade speed away as the Capitol was invaded. Pence then transferred to a secure area.

However, Pence admitted that reading a tweet from President Trump accusing him of lacking courage at the time he posted the photographs enraged him a lot. I didn’t have time for that, he continued. After years of supporting Trump through many crises and controversies and enjoying the former president’s electoral ascent, Pence claimed he had made the decision that they would take opposing sides in this conflict.

Pence told Tapper that he “was determined to be part of the solution” and claimed that “the President had opted at that moment to be a part of the issue.” Then, Pence talked about calling together the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties in the House and Senate, as well as the Pentagon and the Justice Department, to “surge additional resources” to support Capitol Hill, police officers.

After Republican challenges to the count, Congress eventually reconvened on the same day and officially certified Biden as the next president. Pence stated, “We showed the power of our institutions and the tenacity of our democracy to the American people and the globe.” But I’ll always carry those memories and images with me.

Pence recounts tense talks with Trump following the election, telling him, “Don’t ever change.” Pence vividly recalled his talks with Trump in the days following the Capitol incident. Days after January 6, he claimed that when he first encountered Trump at the White House, the president asked him about his family and inquired as to their well-being.

Pence asserted that despite how the general public saw him, he thought Trump was “truly sorry in that moment.” Pence remarked, “I could sense he was upset by what had occurred. He was urged to pray by me. He repeatedly assured me that he was a Christian, and I urged him to go to Jesus in the hopes that he would find the solace I was experiencing at the time.

Pence claimed that when he met with Trump again in the days that followed, the president was still “downcast.” After they had completed discussing official matters, Pence claimed that Trump had been “dismissive about it” when he was “reminded that I was praying for him.”

I stood up as our meeting came to an end, Pence remarked. I guess there are simply two things we’ll probably never agree on, I remarked as I turned to face him. And he raised his head, asking, “What?” Pence stated, “On January 6, I made reference to my position. I added, “Never going to stop praying for you.”

He gave a slender smile and remarked, “That’s right. Do not ever alter. After those occurrences, we parted ways peacefully as much as we could. Pence campaigns with deniers despite claiming that doing so will hurt his electoral chances in the 2020 election.

Pence bemoaned the Republican Party’s lackluster showing in the 2022 midterm elections and noted that candidates who focused more on “relitigating the past” lagged behind those who spoke about the future. And I anticipate Republicans will pay attention to it, Pence said.

Pence said that party loyalty took precedence over other considerations when asked why he decided to campaign with election skeptics such as GOP Senate hopefuls Don Bolduc in New Hampshire and Blake Masters in Arizona, both of whom lost last week.

I frequently declare that I am a Republican, a conservative, and a Christian, in that order. However, I’m a Republican, and after Republican primary voters selected their nominees, I traveled to 35 states over the course of the previous 18 months to see whether we could elect a Republican majority in the House, Senate, and governorships across the nation.

Pence continued by stating that his participation in a campaign event “didn’t mean, as it hasn’t in the past, that I agreed with every comment or every stance candidates that I’m supporting in the Republican Party have taken.”

Additionally, he attempted to draw a comparison between Hillary Clinton’s remarks following the 2016 election and Donald Trump’s statements about election fraud in 2020, pointing out that she said “Donald Trump was not a genuine president, for years.”

He stated, “I believe there has been far too much doubting about elections, not just in 2020 but in 2016.” Pence has very carefully structured his account of what happened on January 6, during the attack on the Capitol that day, and in his meetings with Trump following, and he isn’t departing from that account.

Pence’s remarks have largely remained the same in his book, on CNN’s town hall, and in recent interviews with other news networks as he has deconstructed those events. He had stated his willingness to speak about certain things. The most important things he said were that Trump had chosen the worst lawyers in the months leading up to January 6, that he had been “mad” while watching the attack on the Capitol, that he would continue to pray for Trump, and that the two no longer speak.

But it’s also obvious where Pence won’t go: He’ll keep quiet about whatever lingering animosity he may have toward Trump, claiming that his faith demands forgiveness. He won’t hold Republicans solely accountable for inciting their base by spreading bogus claims of electoral tampering.

He will not support the work of the House committee looking into the circumstances leading up to that day. As a self-described “Rush Limbaugh on decaf” conservative talk radio host in Indiana, Pence developed his slow, measured delivery of a consistent message.

Throughout his entire political career, which spanned 12 years in the House and four years as governor of Indiana, this strategy remained constant. Line by line and paragraph by paragraph, Pence frequently repeats the same message, even when it doesn’t directly address the question he was asked.

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