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Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday appeared to hold back from supporting Donald Trump if the former president were to run again in 2024 and become the Republican nominee.
“Well, there might be somebody else I’d prefer more,” Pence said at a Georgetown University event late Wednesday when asked if he would support Trump if he is the GOP nominee for president.
“What I can tell you is, I have every confidence that the Republican Party is going to sort out leadership,” Pence continued. “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, and I’ll keep you posted.”
Trump has not announced a presidential bid, but he told New York magazine in July, “In my own mind, I’ve already made that decision.”
Pence’s remarks are the latest possible indication that he’s considering a run for president himself. He appeared to edge closer to confirming plans for a 2024 run during a New Hampshire Institute of Politics “Politics & Eggs” event last August.
“I never spent a lot of time in New Hampshire, but I may someday,” the former vice president said at the event, referring to the state’s tradition of holding the nation’s first presidential primary.
Pence has traveled in recent months to numerous states that hold early presidential contests, delivering remarks criticizing the Biden administration while touting his vision of the future of conservative political leadership.
Pence has largely avoided direct criticism of his former boss in public, but if both he and Trump enter the race, it would put the two into direct confrontation amid previous disagreement over the former vice president’s role in certifying the 2020 election results. Pence, who has been at odds with Trump in endorsing GOP candidates for office, has made his disagreement with Trump on the 2020 election certification clear.
“I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election. President Trump is wrong,” Pence said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization, in Orlando, Florida, earlier this year.
Over the course of several hearings in recent months, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol presented evidence outlining Trump’s efforts to pressure Pence to subvert the election results.
In the days leading up to Jan. 6, Trump publicly and privately urged Pence to stop Joe Biden’s electoral victory from being officially certified when presiding over the joint session of Congress to certify the election results. Pence pushed back, reportedly telling Trump that he did not have the authority to carry out his request.
Summer Concepcion is a politics reporter for NBC News.
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