Jan. 6 Pence walks tight between ownership of shares and Trump loves voters

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Two high-level events on Thursday could weigh in on Mike Pence’s White House aspirations – and the former vice president will not appear.

In Washington, on January 6, 2021, Pence’s key aides will discuss how they opposed Donald Trump’s vice president’s demand that the Election College override the results of the House committee inquiry into the attack on Capitol. Pence has Said publicly Trump’s request was false, but he did not speak to the committee.

Meanwhile in Nashville, Christian conservatives will gather for the Confederation of Faith and Freedom Alliance, a traditional stop for growing presidential believers, especially candidates rooted in a movement like Benz. When Benz appeared at last year’s group event, he was Shouted With the call of “traitor.”

Benz’s decision to ignore both highlights his challenge He is positioning himself to run against Trump as the 2024 Republican candidate. Consultants say former vice president is committed to his actions on January 6 but does not want to be known for attacking Trump Representative Tom Rice (RS.C.), who lost his primary post on Tuesday after voting to oust Trump, or Jan. 6 The president is like former chairperson of the committee’s most aggressive campaigns, Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

“The way he looks at it, he did his duty, he doesn’t need to talk much about it,” Mark Short, chief executive of Pence, told The Washington Post. “He does not want to sue the past again. He believes voters want to look forward, not backward.

Short said he did not believe Pence’s actions before and after Jan. 6 would be politically responsible, but that there were those who questioned Pence’s decision.

“In certain circles, there are a lot of compliments, and in some circles, ‘Don’t talk about it, we love you for everything you do, but it’s embarrassing for all of us,'” Short said. “History has a way of sorting out the truth, and what he did that day. I think more people will appreciate it. I can not say exactly when it will happen, but I think it will benefit him over time.

But Thursday’s hearing will complicate that pose, whether Benz likes it or not.

A panel aide said Wednesday that the investigation would be divided into four main areas: the origin of the theory that Benz could unilaterally reject President Biden’s voters; How the theory was rejected by Pence and his advisers; Pressure campaign on Benz driven by former president; How that campaign directly contributed to the insurgency and endangered Pence’s life.

Inquiries have already highlighted tensions between Trump and Benz, similar to Cheyenne’s prime-time opener last week. Cited unspecified testimony Trump expressed support for the rioters who chanted “Hang Mike Pence”, saying they “had the right idea” and that Pence “deserves it.” (Trump denies “hanging Mike Pence.”)

Pence opposed appearing before the panel, believing it would not help, and advisers said it was not a good forum for him to appear. But he accepted what his aides, including Short, were talking about And blessed their cooperation.

In a January 6 post, Short described Benz’s behavior and his dealings with Trump. The group is likely to use video clips from Short’s testimony. Pence’s lawyer Greg Jacob, who testified in his affidavit about the Oval Office meeting between Pence, Trump and others on January 4, 2021, will also testify at Thursday’s hearing, outlining the footage of Attorney John Eastman’s denial to Biden the presidency.

Benz was not looking for opportunities to attack Trump directly, but he defended himself when he took the heat from Trump and his allies. Many who have spoken to him personally say that there is no plan to attack him for some of his actions in the Trump office and that there is no political path in openly criticizing Trump.

“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said Said in February At a Federalist Society meeting in Florida. “I have no right to cancel the election.”

Pence had not spoken to Trump for more than a year, and advisers said he had turned down initial calls to meet him in Mar-a-Lago. A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Pence told others he could run against Trump, and allies have made an announcement early next year. He has taken a serious itinerary to the states in early 2024, especially to South Carolina and Iowa.

Early election The 2024 Republican field shows Benz pushing back other potential candidates such as Trump and Florida Governor Ron Desantis. Such polls are not far-fetched reliable predictors of an election, but may indicate that Benz may be struggling to find strong support.

He supported Trump, but his case to voters was that he did not have the authority to do what Trump wanted. When she traveled to a crisis pregnancy center in South Carolina last month and was asked by donors and activists, she gave this explanation, someone who listened to her comments. The person said that in these private conversations Benz was not negative about Trump.

“He was asked what he would take with him here and there in a few places, and he would usually say, ‘The vice president has a ceremonial role. I have no constitutional authority to do that,'” said Josh Kimblel, a state senator from South Carolina who arranged trips there and accompanied him across the state. Goes. ”We were one of eight events, of the eight events we attended, which may have come four times. This is not a dominant topic.

Former Attorney General William B. Bar or former Secretary of Defense Mark D. Some of his advisers point out that Trump, like former advisers like Esper, has not slandered Pence since he left office. Harsh words Benz has been more of a spokesman than a former president. Benz often praises the “Trump-Benz agenda.”

“Mike Pence describes clearly between being proud of the policies he has provided over those four years, and it’s different from what he was asked and pressured to do in the aftermath of the election,” said Tim Phillips, a Republican activist and Pence’s ally. “He’s proud of the policies he has helped implement, and he’s proud of what he did during that period after the election. He divides those things.

On January 6, Pence joined in the criticism of Democrats and other Republicans for their media attention. The adviser said Benz’s team believed Republican voters’ interest in the 2020 election was declining and that the remaining anger over Benz that day had subsided. . When he visited the states in early 2024, he found that the topic was not often asked.

Benz only briefly mentions the 2020 election, for example, a Campaign rally To Georgia Governor Brian Kemp last month. Since Trump backed the failed challenge of former Senator David Bertou in the GOP primary, that look is another way for him to establish independence from Trump without directly attacking him.

Someone who has been in frequent contact with the former vice president, who spoke anonymously, said that Pence’s emphasis on campaigning with 2022 candidates and highlighting Republican priorities – he visited the border and returned – shows another variant with Trump instead of fighting in the 2020 election. Discuss personal conversations. Benz met with Ohio Gov. Mike Divine and Rep. He will join Divine at a roundtable with Steve Sabot, a fundraiser and Oil and Gas Department team.

The man said the Ohio commitment was the reason why Benz did not appear at the Confederation of Hope and Freedom Conference. Last time results are not a factor.

One person familiar with the conference said he was close to Ralph Reid, the founder and leader of the Benz Coalition, and would be called back. Pence and Reed appeared together at an event in North Carolina last month.

Although Pence was invited to speak at Reid’s show in Nashville, according to several people involved, He was not advertised as an invited speaker on the conference’s web page. In this line, the Republican candidates for 2024, Sen. Tim Scott (SC), sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), Former South Carolina Governor Nicky Haley and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Highly Billed Speaker: Trump.

Annie Linsky contributed to this report.

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