Donald Trump announces he will run in the 2024 election (Reuters)
Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday attacked the president under whom he served, Donald Trump, for his role in the 2021 attack on the Capitol at the opening event of his campaign for the Republican nomination.
Pence, who once served Trump faithfully, has disavowed his former boss since his supporters stormed Congress on Jan. 6 in an attempt to block Joe Biden's victory. Pence was in Congress at the time, presiding over the formal session to certify the election results, when an angry mob vented its anger at lawmakers and even threatened to harm the vice president who was accompanied by his family.
"I believe that whoever puts himself above the Constitution should never be president of the United States, and anyone who asks someone else to put himself above the Constitution should never be president of the United States again," Pence lashed out at Trump in a speech in Iowa, the first state where next year's Republican primary will be held. It was the former vice president's harshest criticism of Trump since their term ended in January 2021.
Former Vice President Mike Pence at his campaign opening event for the Republican nomination in Des Moines, Iowa, June 7, 2023 (Photo: Reuters)
Pence is one of more than a dozen candidates vying for the party's nomination in the November 2024 election, most of whom have avoided addressing the attack on the Capitol out of a desire not to anger Trump supporters. Others echo various conspiracy theories about the events of January 6, including one that claims it was an FBI plot.
He said it was a "tragic" day, adding that Trump was "wrong." The former president demanded that his vice president block the certification of Biden's victory because of his false claims of election fraud, but Pence refused, stressing that he had no constitutional authority to interfere in the process.
"The American people deserve to know that on that day, President Trump also demanded that I choose between him and the Constitution. Now voters will have a similar choice. I chose the Constitution, and I always will," Pence said in a speech to hundreds of spectators in Des Moines.
The former vice president — one of the few in American history to run against the president who served under him — faces a tough road in light of the unflattering polls. According to one, he has only 5% support, while Trump leads safely with 44%. The former president's most significant opponent is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, but the latter has lost ground in recent months and the multiplicity of candidates could make things easier for Trump, as happened in 2016.
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