Mike Pence woos voters at the Iowa State Fair

Mike Pence speaks at Gov. Kim Reynolds' "Fair-Side Chats" at the Iowa State Fair.
Mike Pence speaks at Gov. Kim Reynolds' "Fair-Side Chats" at the Iowa State Fair.(KCRG)
Published: Aug. 13, 2023 at 5:30 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Former vice president Mike Pence told the Washington Bureau’s Brendan Cullerton that despite all of his time in elected office as the former governor of Indiana and a former congressman, people don’t really know him well.

“People who know me well know I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican in that order. My faith, the most important thing in my life from the time that I put my faith in Jesus Christ as a college freshman back in 1978. But look, we’re living in a time when our our culture is changing. Now more than ever, we need leaders that understand the vital importance of religious liberty in this country. And I want them to know I’m I’m going to be a champion for the freedom of religion, and particularly the right to live, to work, to worship and to learn according to the dictates of our faith and conscience, if I’m president of the United States.

Pence underscored his qualities as a traditional conservative, “You know, one of the things I’ve learned, Brendan, over the last couple of years since we left the White House is that I’m I’m well known, but I’m not known well, I mean, most people know me, I think, is that that loyal vice president standing beside the president during four consequential years when we rebuild our military, revived our economy, appointed conservatives to our courts at every level. I was I was always loyal to President Donald Trump. He was my president and he was my friend. And and I maintain that loyalty up until a fateful day when my loyalty to the Constitution and the oath that I’d taken required me to do otherwise. But I understand that’s how most people see me. But what they don’t necessarily know is that I was also governor of a state that cut taxes and balanced budgets and expanded educational opportunities for underprivileged kids.”

Donald Trump currently leads the polls for the Republican nomination overwhelmingly. Pence insists the two men parted amicably despite obvious differences on what happened on January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol.

“Well, you know, the president and I just a few short days after January six, he asked to speak to me. He committed himself publicly to a peaceful transfer of power. He condemned those that engaged in violence and rioting at the Capitol. But some five days later, we he asked if I’d sit down and I did. The president was very contrite, and I think he was very saddened by the events. But we focused on the work at hand, the remaining weeks that we had in the White House. And as I wrote in my autobiography last fall, we actually parted amicably. I’ll never forget the president standing up behind the Resolute desk the day before January 20th, extending his hand and saying, you did a great job. But, you know, in the weeks and months that followed, the president returned to making a case that I had some authority to overturn the election, which neither the Constitution nor our laws and our history would ever allow looked at. I had no right to overturn the election, but I’ll always be proud of the record of the Trump-Pence administration. And frankly, there are people vying for this nomination who’ve decided to be critical of our record, and I won’t have that. We made this country stronger and more prosperous than ever before. Before that pandemic arrived, the worst pandemic in 100 years. But at the end of the day, the president and I have a strong and different view. But I know that by God’s grace, I did my duty on that fateful day.”

For Mike Pence, the most important thing the voters should know about January 6, 2021, is that he kept his oath to the U.S. Constititution, no matter that Donald Trump has now been indicted and arrested three times and faces more legal troubles.

“Well, I think I think I’ve been very clear, Brendan, that I particularly with regard to the recent indictment, I hoped it hadn’t come to that. I hope the judgments about the president’s actions on January six would be left to the American people. But, look, he he’s entitled to the presumption of innocence that every American is entitled to. He’s entitled to make his defense in court. But for my part, I’m I’m I’m going to I’m going to take every opportunity where the question arises and make it clear to people that, well, I kept my oath to the Constitution of the United States that day.”

The Republican Party as a whole is struggling to win over female voters, especially following the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to send the right to legal abortion back to the states. Mike Pence turned his answer to focus on the Biden Administration.

“Well, look, I think women and men across America understand that, that Joe Biden has failed this country at home and abroad. So the American people are ready for a change, but I think they’re ready for us to get back to the timeless agenda that’s always carried our party to victory. A strong national defense, American leadership on the world stage, fiscal responsibility, less taxes and a commitment to the right to life and traditional values. But frankly, when you look at others in the field, including my former running mate, many of them are shying away from those issues and particularly on the right to life or a commitment to fiscal responsibility, even American leadership. And that’s why I’m looking forward to being on that debate stage in Milwaukee.”

For Mike Pence, the contrast between him and the other candidates is clear, “I know there are new voices and some some are answering the siren song of populism unmoored conservative principles, and they have every right to do that. But at the end of the day, the people of Iowa are going to decide. The people of New Hampshire are going to decide. And I have great confidence in caucus goers here in Iowa. Primary voters in New Hampshire, in all of our states around the country, that Republican primary voters are going to once again choose wisely.

Mike Pence has qualified for the first Republican candidates debate in Milwaukee, August 23.