Trump and Pence Inch Closer to a Clash in 2024 in a Capital Still Reeling From How the 2020 Election Went!
Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s latest fight is happening in the shadow of the end of their time in office together: the uprising on January 6, 2021.
On Tuesday, both the former President and his former vice president, who is becoming more and more of a rival, will be in Washington. This is Pence’s second visit in a week. He is preparing for a possible run for the White House in 2024. Trump is going to Washington for the first time since he left office a year and a half ago.
Trump and Pence’s speeches come just a few days after the most recent hearing of the House select committee looking into January 6, 2021. And their appearances, which focused on their different ideas for the GOP, show how Republican voters and politicians are ignoring and dismissing the investigation as two of the party’s most well-known figures move closer to the 2024 presidential primary.
The small number of Republicans who want the country to deal with what happened at the Capitol, where rioters were sparked by Trump’s lies about election fraud and chanted that they wanted to hang Pence for not rejecting key states’ electoral votes, are frustrated by this dissonance. This is because the party is already looking ahead to the next presidential election while the city is still trying to figure out how the last one ended.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of the two Republicans on the House committee looking into the insurrection, said on Tuesday that he was upset that the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden has not brought charges against people who may have done illegal things.
But Kinzinger said on CNN’s “New Day” that he was pleased by the revelation that Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, confirmed that he testified last week in front of a grand jury investigating the insurrection.
“Over the last, I guess, year and a half, there was a lot of personal frustration about what the DOJ was doing,” Kinzinger said. “I think our investigation, which is not a criminal investigation, has brought to light some things that the DOJ is watching, and it seems like they are moving forward because of that, the search warrants that have been served, and other things we have seen.”
He added: “I think it’s important for the Department of Justice to figure out if what happened is a crime and if so, to go after the people who did it. We can’t live in a country where a president is above the law as long as a coup attempt fails, because that would send the wrong message.”
But Kinzinger’s view seems to be at odds with the Republican base. The voters of the party have sided with Trump, believing his lies that the 2020 election will be stolen and supporting candidates across the country who have said the same things. And most top Republicans, even those who haven’t repeated Trump’s lies, haven’t gone up against the former President directly.
Trump and Pence both gave speeches in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. The speeches were billed as deep dives into their plans for the GOP in terms of the policy.
Pence was supposed to speak at the Heritage Foundation on Monday, but his flight was delayed because of bad weather. On Tuesday, he gave a shorter version that showed some of the ways he is different from Trump. Pence hinted in a roundabout way that he wanted to move on from Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and lead the party toward what he called a “freedom agenda.”
“Now some people may choose to focus on the past,” he said. “But elections are about the future. And I believe conservatives must focus on the future to win back America.”
But the young conservatives in the crowd were thinking about the differences between the former running mates. When a member of the audience asked the former vice president about the split on Monday, he played down the idea that there was a split in the conservative movement as a whole by saying that he “couldn’t be more proud of the record of the Trump-Pence administration.”
But Pence did acknowledge a difference in “focus” between himself and Trump.
“I don’t know that the President and I differ on issues, but we may differ on focus,” Pence said. “I truly do believe that elections are about the future. And it is essential, at a time when so many Americans are hurting, so many families are struggling, that we don’t give way to the temptation to look back. But I think the time has come for us to offer a bold and positive agenda to bring America back, and I’ll continue to carry that message all across this nation.”
Simon & Schuster, the publisher, says that Pence is also writing a book that will come out in November. It will be about how President Trump broke up with him on January 6, 2021, because Pence kept his oath to the Constitution.
Other Republicans have downplayed Pence’s influence within a GOP where Trump remains the dominant figure, and have said there is no constituency for him in a 2024 presidential race.
Sunday, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz took Pence to task in a speech at the Turning Point USA Student Action conference.
“Our America is proudly ultra MAGA, not some low energy roadside RINO safari,” said Gaetz, referring to a derogatory term for so-called moderate Republicans. “On that note, let me just say what everyone here knows: Mike Pence will never be president. Nice guy, not a leader.”
On the other hand, most Republicans have been against the House panel looking into January 6, 2021. This has been clear on the 2022 midterm campaign trail, especially at rallies Trump has held for candidates he has backed in key primaries. Most of these candidates have agreed with Trump’s calls for states to change the results of the 2020 election and make it harder to vote in future elections by putting new restrictions on mail-in voting, drop boxes, and other things.
“Do you have both sides, or are you getting one side of the story?” she said. She claimed that the insurrection was “an inside job.”
Trump is going to Washington for the first time since he left office on January 20, 2021. He will give the keynote speech at a summit hosted by the America First Policy Institute, which could be seen as a campaign waiting for a 2024 run for president.
“President Trump sees a nation in decline that is driven, in part, by rising crime and communities becoming less safe under Democrat policies,” Budowich said. “His remarks will highlight the policy failures of Democrats while laying out an America First vision for public safety that will surely be a defining issue during the midterms and beyond.”
Trump allies tell Journalworldwide they hope the former President will use the speech to look forward and focus on setting a Republican agenda ahead of the midterms. As Trump has publicly teased a 2024 bid, aides and advisers have encouraged him to move on from the 2020 election and shift focus to the policy that they believe could put him back in the office, like the economy, and school curriculum, and crime.
So far, Trump hasn’t changed his mind. Instead, he’s used speeches to say that the 2020 election was fixed, attack Republicans he thinks aren’t loyal, and attack the select committee. One person close to Trump was annoyed that the former President couldn’t stop thinking about the past and worried that it would hurt his chances of running for president again in 2024.