Citing 'profound differences,' Pence refuses to endorse Trump for president

Former U.S. Vice President and current presidential candidate Mike Pence (C) and his wife Karen Pence (L) and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, tour the Iowa State Fair on August 11, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Former U.S. Vice President and current presidential candidate Mike Pence (C) and his wife Karen Pence (L) and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, tour the Iowa State Fair on August 11, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who served alongside former President Donald Trump for four years, has declined to endorse his former boss as he looks all but certain to capture the Republican nomination for president in the 2024 presidential election.

Pence, who had a falling out with Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, in which a group of the former president's supporters stormed the United States Capitol as the Congress was about to debate the certification of the votes of the 2020 presidential election, discussed who he planned to vote for in the 2024 presidential election in an appearance on Fox News’ “The Story” on Friday. Pence briefly sought the Republican nomination for president last year before becoming the first major candidate to drop out last October. 

When host Martha MacCallum asked Pence if he planned to endorse Trump, the former vice president responded, “It should come as no surprise that I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year.” 

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While maintaining that he was “incredibly proud” of the Trump-Pence administration's record, which he described as “a conservative record that made America more prosperous, more secure and saw conservatives appointed to our courts and a more peaceful world,” Pence noted that “profound differences” between the two on a “range of issues” prevented him from endorsing the former president. 

Pence insisted that a difference in views on his “constitutional duties” as it relates to presiding over the certification of presidential election results in his capacity as vice president was only one such difference that kept him from endorsing Trump. “I have watched his candidacy unfold,” Pence said. “I’ve seen him walking away from our commitment to confronting the national debt. I’ve seen him starting to shy away from a commitment to the sanctity of human life.”

Pence’s remarks about the former president’s views on the sanctity of human life refer to comments Trump made during a September 2023 interview where he called the six-week abortion ban signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who also ran for president before dropping out earlier this year, a “terrible thing.” The former vice president also lamented Trump’s “reversal on getting tough on China and supporting our administration’s effort to force a sale of ByteDance TikTok.” 

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Advocacy Controlled Applications Act, which seeks to “protect the national security of the United States from the threat posed by foreign adversary controlled applications, such as TikTok and any successor application or service and any other application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Ltd., or an entity under the control of ByteDance Ltd,” in a 352-65 vote last week. 

Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats supported the measure, which makes it “unlawful for an entity to distribute, maintain, or update (or enable the updating of) a foreign adversary controlled application” such as TikTok if it did not separate from its Chinese Communist Party-linked parent company ByteDance. Trump pushed back against banning TikTok in a March 7 post on the social media platform Truth Social.

“If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business,” he wrote, referring to the social media platform’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “I don’t want Facebook, who cheated in the last Election, doing better. They are a true Enemy of the People!” 

Pence cited his former boss’ positions on the national debt, abortion and TikTok as examples of how “Donald Trump is pursuing and articulating an agenda that is at odds with the conservative agenda that we governed on during our four years, and that’s why I cannot in good conscience endorse Donald Trump in this campaign.” At the same time, the former vice president indicated that “I would never vote for Joe Biden,” adding, “How I vote when that curtain closes … that will be for me.”

Pence did not completely close the door to voting for Trump, however, and pushed back on the idea that he would support or run as a third-party candidate, telling MacCallum that he would “keep my vote to myself.” He vowed to spend the rest of the 2024 presidential campaign talking about “what we should be for,” specifically referring to “the broad mainstream conservative agenda that’s defined our party and always made America strong and prosperous and free.”

“Where I’m going to spend my energies is on making sure that my fellow Republicans, independents and many, many Democrats around the country know that it is a commitment to limited government and the Constitution, a commitment to a strong defense and American leadership in the world, a commitment to traditional values that’s always made this country prosperous and free, and I’m going to advocate for that,” he added.

Pence is not the first of Trump’s former rivals in the 2024 Republican primaries to decline to endorse the presumptive nominee. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, stopped short of endorsing the former president after dropping out of the race earlier this month, while former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has remained critical of Trump after suspending his campaign at the beginning of the year. 

Trump is expected to face off in a rematch against Biden in the fall. The former president has floated several possibilities as potential running mates, but Pence, who ran alongside him in 2016 and 2020, is not one of them.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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