Wednesday, June 07, 2023
Web Desk

WATCH: Mike Pence formally enters US presidential race, challenges Trump

Web Desk

  • Pence announces his presidential bid via video.
  • Ex-VP portrays himself as Reagan Republican.
  • "Different times call for different leadership."

Former Vice President Mike Pence who turned against his old boss Donald Trump over the 2021 Capitol Hill attack, officially commenced his 2024 presidential bid via video Wednesday as a Republican contestant in what appears to be a challenge to the former president.

In a video in which he announced his bid later in the day in Iowa portrayed himself as Reagan Republican "seeking to return the US to conservative principles," becoming the first vice president of modern times to stand against his former boss — who is also running for the president in 2024.

He initiated his campaign from Iowa because his team believes the place would help him secure the Republican nomination for the presidential candidate from the party. He will also participate in CNN Town Hall Wednesday.

Mike Pence said in the video: "It would be easy to stay on the sidelines. But that’s not how I was raised. That’s why today, before God and my family, I’m announcing I'm running for president of the United States."

The rift between the former Republican duo emerged when Pence refused to overturn the 2020 election results and chaired the Congress, certifying Joe Biden as victor victory on January 6, 2021.

The 64-year-old argued in the video that "different times call for different leadership" and that the nation needs a leader "that will appeal, as Lincoln said, to the better angels of our nature."

Former US president Donald Trump can be seen exiting the Manhattan court. — AFP/File
Former US president Donald Trump can be seen exiting the Manhattan court. — AFP/File

“We can bring this country back. We can defend our nation and secure our border. We could revive our economy, and put our nation back on a path to a balanced budget, defend our liberties and give America a new beginning for life,” Pence noted.

His official launch comes after his filing of the paperwork Monday to launch his presidential campaign.

The former vice president who served under the 2016 US administration has entered the race that was overshadowed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and 76-year-old Trump with a more typically conservative viewpoint.

He had also served more than ten years in the US House, including one term as governor of Indiana, solidifying his reputation as a steadfast conservative, according to CNBC.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, US. — Reuters/File
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, US. — Reuters/File

Moreover, as he sets out to secure the support of a party that is still primarily devoted to Trump, significant obstacles await him in his bid for the White House.

He has routinely performed better than some of his competitors in polls of the probable primary field, scoring in the "low to mid-single digits," the report said.

Additionally, Pence became a target for other Republicans due to his disagreement with Trump regarding the 2020 race.

According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 35% of Republican registered voters indicated they had a negative opinion of Pence, which is much higher than the ratings given to Trump (11%), DeSantis (5%) and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (12%).

The former president is still the Republican to beat in the 2024 primary, despite the fact that his support in the Republican establishment appeared to be dwindling after the Capitol riot and the 2022 midterm elections.

Polls suggested that he is in the lead among potential primary rivals and has a strong hold on the GOP base of voters, which makes up a substantial portion of the electorate.

Prior to announcing his campaign, Pence made a few subtle barbs at Trump, saying there would be "better candidates" than the former President in 2024.

Furthermore, he suggested that Trump deserved blame for the GOP’s underperformance in the 2022 midterms.

"Our candidates that were focused on the past, particularly on relitigating the last election, did not do well," Pence told CNBC in an apparent reference to Trump, who has made his denial of the 2020 election results a central theme of his 2024 campaign.