Tuesday, November 28

Pence says he and Trump “may differ on focus,” not issues

Former Vice President Mike Pence, speaking Tuesday in Washington, D.C., just across town from and on the same day as the president he served, touted the record of their administration and their shared approach to issues facing the country, though he conceded that “we may differ on focus.”

Pence was asked about the fact that he and former President Donald Trump both in Washington on the same day and whether there is a divide between them that is intensifying within the Republican Party.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the record of the Trump-Pence administration,” he said, listing border security and judicial appointments among its accomplishments. He added, “So, I don’t know that our movement is that divided. I don’t know that the president and I differ on issues, but we may differ on focus.”

He alluded to Trump’s lingering focus on the 2020 election and suggested, as he has in recent speeches that it would be better for the party to look forward. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence Speaks At Young America's Foundation Student Conference
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 26: Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the Young Americas Foundation Student Conference on July 26, 2022 in Washington, DC. 

Nathan Howard / Getty Images

“I truly do believe that elections are about the future,” Pence said. “And it’s absolutely essential at a time when so many Americans are hurting, so many families are struggling, that we don’t give way to the temptation to look back. But I think the time has come for all of us to offer a bold, positive agenda to bring America back.”

Trump. meanwhile, spoke Tuesday afternoon at the conservative America First Policy Institute. For the first 45 minutes of his speech, Trump painted a grim picture of America in decay under Democratic leadership – beset by runaway inflation and lawlessness, he spoke of an “American dream torn to shreds.” But he did mention the 2020 election and continued his baseless claims that he won.

“I always say I ran the second time and did much better,” Trump said. “And you know what, that’s going to be a story for a long time. What a disgrace it was. But you know what, we may have to do it again.”

At Pence’s event, more than 20 young conservatives lined up to ask him questions, but the event’s emcee abruptly said the former vice president would only have time for one more question — the second and last question he received was about Taiwan and China.

As Pence was wrapping up his remarks, news about his upcoming autobiography was released. The book promises to deliver more about what Pence has so far said little about: it will “chronicle President Trump’s severing of their relationship on January 6, 2021, when Pence kept his oath to the Constitution,” according to a press release. The book is scheduled to be published after the midterm elections, on Nov. 15. 

Overall, Pence’s remarks were consistent with earlier speeches, blaming rising inflation and gas prices on the Biden administration, bringing up the accomplishments of the Trump administration and focusing on the culture wars. He spoke of a “culture agenda” and vowed, “We must not tire until we restore the sanctity of life,” placing the nationwide eradication of abortion rights at the top of the agenda.

The former vice president has had a steady schedule of speaking events this year, with remarks at the University of Virginia as well as in Iowa and South Carolina, two early presidential primary states.

Pence allies have told CBS News that he would be active in campaigning for Republicans during the midterms. Pence and Trump have already butted heads on the campaign trail at least twice, backing different candidates for governor in Arizona and Georgia.

Trump saw a loss in Georgia’s race when Gov. Brian Kemp, who was backed by Pence, easily beat former Sen. David Perdue in the GOP primary. Polls show that Arizona’s primaries on Aug. 2 will be a tight race between Trump’s pick, former TV anchor Kari Lake, and Pence’s pick, Karrin Taylor Robinson.

Jenna Gibson and Jacki Puskas contributed to this report.

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