MIKE PENCE TEASING A 2024 RUN
At the Free Iran Summit at Washington DC’s Hilton hotel Thursday morning, Mr Pence spoke for roughly an hour in a prepared address and follow-up discussion with Marc Short, his former chief of staff, about his time in the White House and the work of the Trump administration to impose a pressure campaign against Iran’s government.
His remarks were full of effusive praise for his former boss, despite media reports indicating that the two have not mended ties following the 6 January attack on the US Capitol and Mr Pence’s refusal to try and halt the certification of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat.
“Under the Trump-Pence administration, I am proud that America did not turn a deaf ear to the pleas of the Iranian people,” said Mr Pence, adding: “On the day we left office, the Iranian regime was more isolated than ever before.”
From there, he headed to Loudoun County, Virginia, where he delivered an address on “educational freedom”, a clear call to the growing anger in the conservative GOP base around issues including mask and vaccine mandates in schools as well as the teaching of content dealing with social issues.
In recent months, school boards across the country have faced calls from conservatives to ban the teaching of “critical race theory”; in practice, this criticism largely has sought to stifle most teaching about issues like racism, slavery, and segregation, as the right has opposed anything that could be seen as agreeing with the central theory that America is or was a racist country, either past or present.
The multifaceted school board controversies began seriously ramping up as schools began enforcing mask mandates at the beginning of the 2021 school year; most school districts went to some form of distance learning in 2020. Parents were confronted with requirements that their children wear masks for the entire day while indoors, and in some cases balked at the idea of wearing masks themselves on school property.
Anger over the issues has only grown in recent months; earlier this week a school board in a small rural Pennsylvania district told CBS Philadelphia that every single member of its board had received violent threats, adding that the board was sending them to the FBI.
Mr Pence is not the first likely 2024 contender to weigh in on this issue. Florida’s Ron DeSantis had that honour earlier this month when he vowed to fight any effort to work with federal law enforcement to investigate threats against school board officials. . . .
Thursday’s swing through Purcellville, Virginia., followed two other policy-related speeches Mr Pence has hosted through the organisation he founded after leaving the White House in January, Advancing American Freedom. He previously spoke in Oregon about “law enforcement and public safety”, another hot-button issue for conservatives who have largely battled the criticism of US police levelled by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. The former president also spoke at the conservative Heritage Foundation in DC about US-China relations.
All in all, the events signal that Mr Pence is eager to remain in the conversation on a wide range of topics as speculation swirls regarding whether his former boss will mount a third bid for the White House in 2024.
Mr Trump is viewed as the likely favourite for the GOP nomination should he run again, a prospect that the former president has been more than happy to entertain. That has not deterred other GOP hopefuls from laying the groundwork for their own campaigns, but could change their plans drastically should he jump in the race officially.
The Washington Post reported earlier this month that the former president is all but officially running, and has only held off on announcing to avoid taking the blame for any potential GOP shortcomings in the 2022 midterms.
“As for 2024, there has been a shift from intention to urgency as he watches in horror the many failings of this administration,” his former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, told the newspaper.
Mr Pence appears himself in full-steam-ahead mode preparing the base for his own White House bid regardless of his former boss’s desire to return to power, and will head to Iowa, the first primary state, next month for an event hosted by the Young American Foundation.
What are your thoughts on Mike Pence teasing a presidential run in 2024? Let us know in the comments below!
(Excerpt from The Independent. Article written by John Bowden.)
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