Mike Pence speaks during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House. © Evan Vucci/AP/dpa
Mike Pence was once Donald Trump's vice president in the USA. Now he wants to become president himself - and is challenging his former boss.
Washington - Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence wants to become president of the United States. The Republican submitted the necessary paperwork to the Federal Election Commission to run for his party's candidacy in the 2024 election.
The official announcement is expected this Wednesday. The 63-year-old is also challenging ex-boss Donald Trump (76), who wants to run again after his defeat in 2020. From 2017 to 2021, Pence was his deputy. In the end, however, he was targeted by Trump supporters. During the storming of the Capitol, he even had to be brought to safety from them.
With his candidacy, Pence expands the field of Republican aspirants. This includes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. The Republicans choose their candidate in an internal party primary. Among the Democrats, US President Joe Biden is running for re-election. As an incumbent, he is unlikely to face serious competition within the party in the election campaign.
Pence is far behind in polls
Pence's decision had been expected. Already in mid-November, he had made it clear in a TV interview that he was considering a candidacy. At that time, he was already ready to compete against Trump. Ultimately, the American people must decide whether Trump could be president again, Pence said. But he thinks there are better alternatives. Pence is far behind in the polls, Trump clearly leads the field of candidates among the Republicans.
Pence sees himself as a "classic conservative" who wants to bring the Republican Party back to its roots. The evangelical Christian supports a nationwide ban on abortion, and the promotion of free trade is important to him. He does little to counter the loud populist tones in his party.
Relationship between Trump and Pence damaged after Capitol storming
For years, Pence appeared as a loyal companion of Trump. The fact that the ousted president incited his supporters against his vice president on the day of the storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington permanently damaged the relationship between the two. Trump supporters had stormed the congressional seat on January 6, 2021, while the victory of Democrat Biden was to be confirmed there under the chairmanship of Pence. Shouts of "Hang Pence" came from the mob.
Trump had also claimed in the days before that Pence could simply reject election results from individual states, which legal experts and the vice president considered illegitimate. During the storming of the Capitol, Trump tweeted that Pence "did not have the courage to do what should be done." After the attack ended, Congress under Pence's chairmanship completed the certification of Biden's victory. Pence described Trump's statements at the time and also his behavior as dangerous.
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Most recently, Pence again spoke moderately about his former boss. For example, he rejected an indictment of Trump for his role in the storming of the Capitol. "That would be incredibly divisive in a country and at a time when the American people want to see us heal," Pence said. With the same reasoning, Pence defended Trump against the charges of paying hush money to a star. Dpa