Former Vice President Mike Pence has been mostly quiet since the January 6 riots, where he has shouldered criticism for his conduct from the MAGA faithful, as well as Former President Donald Trump. Trump recently came out and blasted Pence for not decertifying state election results. Pence has started to have a more visible presence in 2022 as he tries to rehabilitate his image.
Early in the war in Ukraine, Pence visited the border of Poland and met with refugees. Afterward, he made a series of speeches in Europe. This is something a statesman would do, not someone who was contemplating retiring.
He continues to reframe his position to the public by publicly saying that there was no room for Putin apologists, days after Trump called the Russian president savvy. The statements, and their timing, are designed to continue to place space between Pence and Trump.
Pence also endorsed Brian Kemp against Trump-endorsed David Purdue in the Georgia race for governor. A direct repudiation of the former president. Why? Because Pence is going to run as the establishment candidate for president in 2024.
He has the highest name recognition of any GOP candidate not named Trump or DeSantis. The system will embrace him because he is clearly hawkish on the Ukraine war and will play by the rules in Washington, D.C.
Pence is not a disrupter like Trump or a rising force like DeSantis. He is a safe alternative for insular Washington republicans who know they can win against a feeble President Biden. The powers that be want business as usual in the swamp, and Pence would deliver that for them.
Pence’s decision to run for president is quickly moving from conjecture to fact. This week, he came out publicly and said that he could run for president, even if Trump decided to run again. In politics, this is a move that defers the timing of an inevitable announcement. Pence is going to run for president in 2024, whether Trump runs or not.