Mike Pence Launches 2024 Campaign with Critique of Trump’s Populism

2 Mins read

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who recently announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race, has taken a bold step by critiquing his former boss, former President Donald Trump, and distancing himself from Trump’s brand of populism. Pence’s remarks come as he lags behind Trump in primary polls, and it appears to mark the beginning of his campaign in earnest.

While Pence has previously attempted to strike a delicate balance between criticizing Trump’s leadership style and promoting his own record in the Trump-Pence administration, his latest comments represent a more pointed departure from the former president.

Speaking at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, Pence emphasized that Republican voters have a choice to make in the 2024 election. He framed the decision as one between the party’s conservative principles and the allure of populist rhetoric divorced from those principles. Pence argued that the populist movement within the Republican Party is inclined to replace core conservative values with an agenda driven by personal grievances and performative outrage.

Furthermore, Pence asserted that Trump and his followers sometimes resemble progressives on the left, stating that both sides are “fellow travelers on the same road to ruin.” He pointed out that while Trump promised to govern as a conservative during his 2016 campaign, he and his imitators in the current Republican Party no longer make such commitments.

Pence called on the party to embrace the ideals of former President Ronald Reagan, highlighting Reagan’s belief in freedom, economic prosperity, and his dignified and civil demeanor in facing contemporary challenges. In a subtle jab at Trump, Pence noted that “the Republican Party did not begin on a golden escalator in 2015,” referring to Trump’s announcement of his presidential run in 2015.

In response to Pence’s remarks, Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, asserted that Trump’s 2016 victory exposed a divide between voters and establishment Beltway insiders. Miller argued that both the conservative movement and the Republican Party have evolved for the better and are unlikely to revert to their previous state.

When asked about his past comparison of Trump to Reagan at the 2016 Republican National Convention, Pence expressed no regrets, stating that while Trump initially governed as a conservative, he and many imitators have since deviated from those principles. This represents a significant step for Pence as he endeavors to carve his own path in the 2024 race while distinguishing himself from his former political ally, Trump.

Image credits; Wikimedia


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