Former Vice President Mike Pence declined to say whether he would back Donald Trump if his former boss were to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2024, AP News reports.
Twice given a chance to say he would support Trump if he was the nominee Pence, Trump’s former vice president, declined to do so.
“I’m very confident we’ll have better choices come 2024,” Pence said. “And I’m confident our standard-bearer will win the day in November of that year.”
Pence, widely expected to seek the nomination himself, suggested that Trump’s leadership style is not what the party needs in the upcoming White House race.
Pence said, “different times call for different leadership.”
“I’m persuaded that no one could have defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 except Donald Trump, but I think we live in a different time and it calls for different leadership.”
Pence and Trump have been estranged since the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, by Trump’s supporters in an attempt to stop the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump, the former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur, and author, are the only declared candidates for the Republican nomination. The Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, is widely expected to run and is Trump’s only challenger in polling.
Pence’s reluctance to commit to supporting Trump points to a possible outcome feared by Republicans: that Trump will split the party either by winning the nomination without majority support or losing it and refusing to support the winner.
Republicans are expected to include a pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee among formal criteria for participation in primary debates.
Trump has refused to commit to supporting another nominee.
“The American people want us to return to the policies of the Trump-Pence administration, but I think they want to see leadership that reflects more of the character of the American people: namely the commitment to principle and the civility that Americans show each other every day,” Pence said. “And so, if we enter the fray, we will offer that kind of leadership.”
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