Citing 'better choices', Pence says won't back Trump if he's nominee
Former Vice President, who is anticipated to compete for the Republican presidential nomination, thinks "different times call for different leadership."
Mike Pence, Trump’s former Vice President, declined twice to articulate his support for Donald Trump if he was the Republican nominee for president in 2024 during an interview with CBS.
“I’m very confident we’ll have better choices come 2024,” Pence said on Wednesday. “And I’m confident our standard-bearer will win the day in November of that year.”
Pence also stated, “Different times call for different leadership”.
Trump, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, and biotech entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy are the only declared Republican candidates. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is largely anticipated to run and is now Trump's sole polling challenger.
During the interview, Pence divulged that he would make a decision on whether to run “this spring”.
Pence's hesitancy to commit to supporting Trump indicates a possible result that Republicans fear: Trump splitting the party by either winning the nomination without majority support or losing it and refusing to accept the winner.
It is worth noting that Trump has declined to back another candidate.
Haley has refrained from personally attacking Trump, although she has advocated for mental fitness testing for officials over the age of 75. Trump is 76 years old.
Pence said, “I come from southern Indiana, where people think most politicians should have a competency test. No, I think the American people can sort that out. I really do.”
He stressed, “I really believe that the conservative movement has always been animated by ideas.
“We’ve had big personalities, from [Ronald] Reagan all the way to Donald Trump. But I think it’s the ideas – of commitment to a strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, limited government and traditional values – that really I think created this movement and still sustain it,” he stated.
Pence said that the "record of the Trump-Pence administration" - four turbulent years that concluded with Trump refusing to call off supporters chanting for Pence's execution as they stormed Congress - demonstrated such Republican ideals.
According to testimony before a House committee on January 6, Trump told advisors that Pence deserved to be hanged for refusing to veto certification of Joe Biden's victory.
The Justice Department is still looking into Trump's election tampering and instigation of the Capitol attack.
Pence has been praised for opposing Trump, but he is now contesting a subpoena issued by special counsel Jack Smith.
Pence concluded, “The notion of compelling a former vice-president to appear in court to testify against the president with whom they served is unprecedented, but I also believe it’s unconstitutional.”