“The Freedom Agenda provides a clear roadmap for conservative leaders who look to connect deeply with the American people as their highest priority,” Pence plans to say, according to prepared statements obtained by CNN. “It is built on the belief that Americans want to create more economic opportunity, restore American leadership on the world stage, are proud of and want to preserve traditional American culture.”
His prepared remarks touch on the importance of building a “permanent majority” and the need for “united conservative action” rather than looking back.
“Some people may choose to focus on the past,” Pence said in his planned remarks. “But I think conservatives should focus on the future.”
Pence’s speech will occur approximately 24 hours before Trump delivers keynote remarks at the Summit of the America First Policy Institute, a two-day event in Washington that brings together elected Republicans and alumni of the Trump administration to discuss ideas for an “America First agenda.”
And while the timing of this week’s speeches appears to have been accidental, their pairing fits with a theme that Pence and his political team have been quietly pressing for months as the Indiana Republican prepares for a possible election run in the White House: while Trump continues to talk. In his false claims about the 2020 election, his former vice-president is helping bolster Republicans’ political prospects in 2022 and beyond.
The proposed agenda, released by Pence’s political group Advancing American Freedom, in April, attempts to reconcile right-wing populist ideas with the traditional conservatism from which Pence emerged as a political figure. This reflects Pence’s own efforts to carve a path forward that recognizes the Republican coalition under Trump while turning the page on what many Republican leaders view as the former president’s divisive and dangerous motives.
The last clash between the former president and the vice president
Pence’s Heritage speech is the latest example last week of Pence presenting himself to various factions in the Republican Party as an alternate heir to Trump in 2024.
In Washington last Wednesday, Pence received a standing ovation from members of the Republican Study Committee, the conservative caucus in the House of Representatives he once headed, suggesting that he still has appeal among the elected members of his party, even within the House Republican convention. who remains deeply loyal to Trump. .
Pence and Dossey support Karen Taylor Robson ahead of the August 2 primary. The race between Lake and Taylor Robson is still close, and endorsing him is a bit of a risk for a wary Pence.
“I am grateful to the vice president for coming out, for choosing the true governor in this race, and for helping make it clear that she is the best choice in the governor’s primary for all Arizona residents,” Dossey told CNN last week in an interview. “Mike Pence brings a real conservative leave to this race.”
While Trump has spent much of the post-presidency trying to settle scores with Republicans who have outgrown him, Pence has forged relationships with leaders in the party. More than two decades in elected Republican politics have helped him, including his stint as governor of Indiana, which Dossey cited as an asset when Pence comes to the aid of candidates in 2022.
“When he served as governor of Indiana, he was a great fellow and collaborator with other governors. And as vice president, he went on[d] to be. So when Mike Pence talks about this race, he brings all that and more,” Dossey said.
“Vice President Pence was a huge help during the primaries and continued to provide assistance, but we asked for it,” said Cody Hall, a Kemp campaign spokesman. “He said, ‘No matter how cooperative we can be, we’ll do it’ because he wants to elect Republicans, not just here in Georgia, but all over the country.”
Even as the primaries wind up, Pence remains committed to Kemp, including hosting a fundraiser for Georgia’s governor in Indianapolis on August 1, according to two people familiar with the plans.
Caution in public criticism of Trump
What remains unclear is whether Pence’s approach to making friends within the Republican tent helps him influence the direction of the party whose base voters remain in the grip of Trump. The relationship between the two men does not exist, as one has not spoken to each other since early 2021. But despite their disagreement on the issue of transferring power after the 2020 election, Pence continues in his speeches to encourage the achievements of the “Trump-Pence” administration.
And he has been careful in his public criticism of Trump, generally sticking to a dormant line that he and the former president would not see “face to face” over the January 6 events.
“I heard this week that President Trump said I have the right to annul the election,” Pence said. “President Trump is wrong.” “I had no right to overturn an election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone. Frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the idea that anyone could choose the American president.”
But many Republicans say Pence is in a difficult position to successfully run for president in 2024. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, said the pool of potential candidates who could claim they wanted to move the party “beyond Trump” would be large. .
“I think that’s the same aisle that Ron DeSantis might be looking at that Tim Scott, Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo might be looking at,” Mulvaney told CNN.
Not only will Republican primary voters punish Pence for failing to carry out Trump’s orders, but Trump himself may decide to blow up his colleague’s one-time running chances, whether or not he himself decides to run.
“Who is Donald Trump who would be most interested in defeating first? I think it’s Pence,” Mulvaney said. “I think because the things that were [said] About Pence abandoning him, I think, is real.”