In yet another twist to the ongoing Trump saga, former Vice President Mike Pence recently made headlines by referring to the potential indictment of former President Donald Trump as “divisive.” Speaking at a conservative conference in New Hampshire, Pence treaded carefully on the subject, avoiding a direct answer when asked if he would consider pardoning his former running mate.
Pence’s remarks came at a time when the question of Trump’s potential legal jeopardy has been a topic of intense speculation. With ongoing investigations into the former president’s business dealings and the possibility of criminal charges, many have wondered whether Trump’s loyalists and allies, including Pence, would stand by his side.
During his speech at the “Lincoln Reagan Dinner” organized by the Hillsborough County Republican Committee, Pence focused primarily on championing conservative values and criticizing the Biden administration’s policies. However, when pressed on the subject of Trump’s potential indictment, Pence took a cautious stance.
Referring to any move towards indicting Trump as “divisive,” Pence seemed to strike a delicate balance between supporting his former running mate and trying to distance himself from any potential legal troubles. This response appears calculated to avoid alienating Trump’s base while also maintaining a degree of plausible deniability. By avoiding a direct answer on the issue of pardoning the former president, Pence leaves room for interpretation and avoids giving a concrete commitment either way.
The rationale behind Pence’s stance can be interpreted in several ways. On the one hand, Pence has long been seen as a loyal ally of Donald Trump, faithfully carrying out his duties as vice president for four years. Refusing to say if he would pardon Trump could be perceived as an attempt to protect his former running mate and maintain that loyalty.
On the other hand, Pence might also be trying to distance himself from Trump’s potential legal troubles, particularly as he contemplates a potential presidential run of his own in 2024. After the violent Capitol insurrection on January 6th, where Pence found himself at odds with Trump’s demands to overturn the election results, he may be seeking to establish his own identity as a more moderate Republican. By avoiding a public commitment to a potential pardon, Pence keeps his options open and avoids being tied too closely to Trump’s controversies.
The bigger question, however, is whether Pence’s careful approach to the subject will satisfy either side of the political spectrum. Critics will likely argue that his refusal to express support or opposition to a potential pardon is a cowardly move, demonstrating a lack of conviction and moral courage. Trump’s ardent supporters, on the other hand, might interpret Pence’s silence as a betrayal, viewing it as a sign that he’s distancing himself from Trump and the values they hold dear.
Ultimately, Pence’s remarks leave much to interpretation and invite speculation about his future political aspirations. As the Republican Party grapples with its post-Trump identity, figures like Pence will have to navigate the tricky terrain of remaining loyal to the party’s base while appealing to a broader electorate. Whether his cautious approach proves successful or not will only become clear in the coming years, as the 2024 presidential race looms large.