Eying 2024, Pence makes first speech since leaving office

In his first public address since the end of the Trump administration, former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday put down a marker for a potential return to elected office, telling an audience in early-voting South Carolina that he will use the coming months “pushing back on the liberal agenda” he says is wrong for the country.

“We’ve got to guard our values … by offering a positive agenda to the American people, grounded in our highest ideals,” Pence told an audience of several hundred at a Columbia dinner sponsored by a conservative Christian not-for-profit that lobbies for what it considers to be “biblical values,” such as heterosexual marriage. “Now, over the coming months, I’ll have more to say about all of that.”

The choice of South Carolina for Pence’s post-administration debut has definite political overtones, helping him develop exposure for a potential 2024 presidential bid. The state holds the first presidential primaries in the South, and candidates of both major parties typically spend more than a year in the state ahead of those votes, introducing themselves and trying to secure support.

Republican candidates use South Carolina as a proving ground to test their anti-abortion-rights mettle. Thursday’s event, hosted by Palmetto Family Council, also gave Pence a backdrop for some of the issues for which he long advocated as an Indiana congressman-turned-governor, such as restrictions on abortion and support for the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Palmetto Family most recently helped push through a ban on most South Carolina abortions, a law now being challenged in federal court.

“We will stand with the right of every American, of every faith, to live, to work, to speak and to worship according to the dictates of their conscience,” Pence said.

Pence, who since leaving office has been doing work with the Heritage Foundation and Young America’s Foundation, has not indicated if he plans a future run. As vice president, he made numerous trips to South Carolina, meeting several times with Gov. Henry McMaster for coronavirus-related forums and campaigning in the state for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace.

But the question is whether Pence’s former boss still looms large for the possible Republican field. Former President Donald Trump has not explicitly stated his plans but has teased a possible bid. On Thursday morning, asked on Fox Business about running in 2024, Trump said he’s “100%” thinking about it and would even possibly consider Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as his running mate.

Earlier this month, another possible GOP contender, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, said when asked about 2024 by The Associated Press that she would stand down if Trump opted to run again. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has launched an aggressive schedule, visiting states that will play a pivotal role in the 2024 primaries and signing a contract with Fox News Channel. DeSantis has been courting donors, including in Trump’s backyard, with a prominent speaking slot before the former president at a GOP fundraising retreat dinner this month at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort where Trump now lives.

Earlier Thursday, South Carolina Democratic Chair Trav Robertson said Pence was coming to the state to “try and salvage his relationship” with Trump supporters irked that Pence didn’t support efforts to block certification of the 2020 presidential election.

On Thursday, Pence promised to reveal more of his ideas soon, promising that he would be challenging the Biden administration’s “avalanche of liberal policies” as he ramps up speaking engagements around the country.

“We have the winning agenda,” Pence told Thursday’s crowd. “And now it’s incumbent upon us to take that winning agenda to the American people.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

12 thoughts on “Eying 2024, Pence makes first speech since leaving office

  1. “We will stand with the right of every American, of every faith, to live, to work, to speak and to worship according to the dictates of their conscience,” Pence said.

    Does anybody else see the hypocrisy in this statement when he wants to tell women if they can have an abortion, determine which couples are allowed to marry, etc.?

    1. No hypocrisy there, Kelvin O.

      Our Creator told us explicitly that we were created as two different sexes, and only two…and how we were to function, complementing one-another by leaving our fathers and mothers and cleaving to one another as man (male) and wife (female) in the marriage covenant designed for our benefit and human procreation.

      He also told us we are not to murder one-another…and science has proven that the DNA of a baby within a woman is different from that of the woman herself. Hence, a distinctly-different individual person was formed at the moment of conception. That little person deserves the same protection from harm as does you or me.

      ‘Sorry those basic facts may be beyond your comprehension, but they have been the bedrock of every thriving culture since the dawn of time…and ignoring them has been the downfall of those cultures, just as that downfall is currently underway in The United States of America, in case you can’t see the big picture.

      Over 100 years ago, it was said that the sun never sets on the British Empire. That was because that empire was so large that Great Britain was a powerhouse in the world. Now, Great Britain’s enormous churches are at best tourist sites, all but void of worshipers and unable to perform even basic maintenance if they had to depend on parishioner’s contributions alone…and the sun easily rises and sets on the British Empire because it is basically non-existent.

      A diminishing few people in The United States of America recognize all this going on, so you should refrain from shooting the messenger [Mike Pence] just because you don’t like the message. Shooting the messenger does not reduce the reality of the message.

    2. Bob P cherry-picking the Bible as conservatives are want to do. The same book that mentions homosexuality in a single passage also endorses slavery. Jesus laid down a new covenant, one of love and compassion, so it is inexplicable how so-called Christians use the OLD testament to justify discrimination, ignoring Jesus’ dictate to love one another (and if you were really the biblical scholar that you think you are you would know that “love” in the ancient language of the Bible is a verb, so it means to take action to be neighborly and kind to others).

    3. Bob, churches will be empty in less than 100 years and Mike Pence will be one of the biggest reasons why.

      We are taught as Christians that the earth is not our home. Yet so many have turned away from worshiping Jesus and instead believe in QAnonsense or Trump instead.

      The youth know this, see this, and they want no part of it.

    4. To Bob P,

      No one is shooting the messenger. Merely pointing out a hypocrisy because of juxtaposed statements that contradict each other does not matter what ones opinion of the messenger is.

      Americans are a polyglot of many religions, beliefs, ethnicities, etc. so to ‘stand with the right of every American, of every faith, . . .’ means not dictating Christian values on those with other beliefs or even other interpretations of Christian doctrine.

      Using Great Britain as an example of the downfall caused by not following Christian values as you provide is revisionist history. The downfall of Great Britain occurred because they tried to force their culture on other religions and ethnicities, redrew boundaries according to their needs and not according to local peoples, etc.; thus this led to revolt against the British rule by all. Closer to home, why did many of the the initial settlers of America leave the UK and Europe? Until the second half of the 20th century, European countries (including GB) were largely monotheistic and of one race/culture. The US does not profess to be the same; read the Bill of Rights. Freedom of religion is freedom to worship any religion not the freedom to worship a Christian religion. Yes, the Bill of Rights was written when the the demographics of the US were much different and much more monolithic than now but that does not diminish the broad meaning of the Bill of Rights.

    1. Yep. He’s done. His best bet is to go become president of Hillsdale or Liberty … that’s the only presidency he will ever get.

    2. I figured he would be like Dan Quayle and move into the private sector because he went as high as he could and POTUS isn’t in the cards. Why would you want to put yourself in the position of having to either support or disavow your Trump relationship because we all know Trump is not going to gracefully ride off into the sunset. Trump will be back either as a candidate or a major disrupter and Pence is stuck in a no win situation. I just figured he was through politically, but I do admire people reaching for their dreams regardless of what others say. Nothing wrong with that.

  2. Trust anonymous Associated Press writers to put “biblical values” in quotation marks, implying they aren’t, or are to be discounted. (Friggin’ liberals, what a PITA. As transparent as cellophane.)

    1. The people you are referring to are not conservatives and I’m sure you are not either. You’re referring to the alt-right, which just lost all of its power in government a few months ago.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}