By Kaia Hubbard
Former Vice President Mike Pence drew laughter in a speech on Wednesday when he declined to say whether he’d vote for Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election.
“Well, there might be somebody else I’d prefer more,” Pence quipped while answering questions at Georgetown University following a speech about the future of conservatism, hinting at his own presidential ambitions.
In recent months, the former vice president has traveled the country, delivering speeches at political events and campaigning for Republican candidates, while occasionally hinting at an openness to a bid for the White House.
“What I can tell you is I have every confidence that the Republican Party is going to sort out leadership,” Pence said Wednesday. “All my focus has been on the midterm elections, and it’ll stay that way for the next 20 days. But after that, we’ll be thinking about the future – ours and the nation’s.”
Pence has distanced himself from his former boss since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, when he defied Trump by certifying the election results. Accordingly, Trump has clamored against him, calling the former vice president a coward, while Pence has attempted to thread a difficult needle of packaging his successes within the Trump-Pence administration while breaking with his former boss.
And Pence has repeatedly broken with MAGA-aligned Republicans more broadly, as he did earlier Wednesday when he criticized some GOP lawmakers who would prefer to adopt an isolated foreign policy as it relates to the war in Ukraine.
“Now, I know there is a rising chorus in our party, including some new voices to our movement, who would have us disengaged with the wider world,” Pence said during a speech at a Heritage Foundation event. “But appeasement has never worked, ever, in history. And now more than ever, we need a conservative movement committed to America’s role as leader of the free world and as a vanguard of American values.”
The two speeches featured elements of Pence’s “Freedom Agenda,” released earlier this year, which reads like the platform of a presidential campaign and toes the line between well-known Trump-Pence administration policies and molding his own political identity.