Pence Avoids All Mention of Trump in 2024 Presidential Campaign Launch

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Mike Pence launched his 2024 campaign Wednesday morning with the release of a video discussing his faith in the American people—but somehow neglecting to mention his biggest rival for the Republican nomination.

“It would be easy to stay on the sidelines. But that’s not how I was raised,” Pence says in the clip released ahead of a launch event in Iowa. “That’s why today, before God and my family, I’m announcing I’m running for president of the United States.”

Pitching himself a conservative with traditional values, Pence says he is proud of “the progress we made together” over his career in Congress and in his time as Donald Trump’s vice president. “But today, our country’s in a lot of trouble,” Pence says. “President Joe Biden and the radical left have weakened America at home and abroad.”

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“The American dream is being crushed under runaway inflation, wages are dropping, recession is looming, our southern border is under siege, and the enemies of freedom are on the march around the world,” Pence continues, invoking familiar campaign talking points to his GOP nomination rivals. “And worse still, timeless American values are under assault as never before,” Pence adds over images of news stories about critical race theory and transgender athletes. “We’re better than this.”

His announcement Wednesday is the latest addition to an increasingly crowded—and combative—field for the Republican nomination. By the end of the day, 10 candidates in total are expected to have declared their campaigns after former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie launched his bid on Tuesday and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s announcement expected later on Wednesday.

Pence, who celebrates his 64th birthday on Wednesday, is now the first vice president in modern history to directly compete against his former boss for the White House. Despite Pence being publicly loyal to Trump in office, the pair were riven by the events of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot where an angry mob of Trump’s supporters chanted “Hang Mike Pence!”

Though his announcement video did not include Trump’s image and Pence never mentioned Trump by name, he said that “different times call for different leadership,” seemingly encouraging voters to avoid a rerun of elections past by not handing Trump the nomination again.

“Today, our party and our country need a leader that will appeal, as Lincoln said, to the better angels of our nature,” Pence says. He also invoked Ronald Reagan and his description of America as a “shining city on a hill.” “Above all, he called on Americans to renew optimism and believe in themselves again, to believe in each other,” Pence said.

“I believe in the American people, and I have faith God is not done with America yet,” Pence says at the end of his video. “And together, we can bring this country back, and the best days for the greatest nation on earth are yet to come.”

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