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Pence Throws Hat into Presidential Ring, Criticizes Trump's Actions in Campaign Kickoff

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

Former Vice President Mike Pence officially declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in a video released early Wednesday. Later in the day, he addressed a crowd of supporters in Ankeny, Iowa, delivering a speech that criticized Donald Trump for his actions on January 6, 2021, and took jabs at President Joe Biden. Pence also highlighted the global challenges posed by "enemies of freedom," featuring images of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in his campaign video. Despite Trump leading the polls among GOP voters, Pence has consistently polled third, remaining in the single digits.

While the Trump campaign questioned Pence's decision to run, the former vice president focused on his belief in freedom and his trust in the American people. In his speech, Pence emphasized the need for effective governance, stating, "We just need government as good as our people to do it."

With the recent entry of North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum into the race, eight Republican candidates, including Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have officially joined the crowded field for the party's nomination. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also announced his candidacy on Tuesday during a town hall in New Hampshire.

Pence, who previously served as Indiana governor and spent a decade in the House of Representatives, appeals to his base of evangelical Christians and anti-abortion activists. At the announcement event held at Des Moines Area Community College, Pence, after a prayer and introductory speeches, took the stage with his wife by his side. He highlighted his conservative values, stating, "I'm a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order."

Pence showcased his track record in Congress and as Indiana governor, highlighting his support for anti-abortion legislation and expanded government spending. He reiterated key points from his campaign video, addressing issues such as inflation, the national debt, and the US-Mexico border.

While Pence acknowledged his pride in serving alongside President Trump during their term, he diverged from the former president's stance on January 6, 2021. Pence emphasized that he did not have the authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted, causing frustration among some Trump supporters. Pence asserted, "Anyone who asked someone else to put them over the constitution should never be president of the United States again."

Pence's candidacy presents a unique scenario where a former vice president competes for the nomination against a former president with whom he shared a ticket. Throughout his campaign, Pence will continue to emphasize his conservative values and champion timeless American ideals, positioning himself as a strong contender in the Republican primary race.


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