Pence hopes he has chance to debate ‘differences’ with Trump

Former Vice President Mike Pence said Friday he hopes he has a chance to debate his differences with former President Trump, amid questions about whether Trump will join his fellow GOP presidential candidates on the party’s first debate stage next week.  

“I always stood loyally by Donald Trump until my oath to the Constitution required me to do otherwise. But my differences with the president go far beyond that fateful day,” Pence said at The Gathering, an annual event hosted by conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson, in apparent reference to Jan. 6, 2021. 

“And I hope to have a chance to debate ‘em with him,” Pence said of the two men’s “real differences” on issues. 

The GOP is holding its first presidential debate in Milwaukee next week, but Trump has kept up the suspense on whether he’ll join Pence and the other candidates on the stage. The former president has suggested he doesn’t need to participate, citing his lead in polling. Notably, Trump is also facing multiple state and federal indictments on criminal charges.

Pence’s entry into the 2024 presidential race with Trump marked the first time in recent American history that a former vice president is running against the president he served. 

The two men broke over the events surrounding the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, which interrupted the certification process for the 2020 presidential election after Trump lost to President Biden. Pence has rebuked Trump’s suggestion that the vice president had the ability to overturn the election results. 

“Sometimes people ask me, ‘How do you envision debating Donald Trump?’ I say, ‘I’ve debated Donald Trump 1,000 times, just not with the cameras on,’” Pence said Friday. 

The former vice president stressed that he’ll “always be proud of the record of the Trump-Pence administration” and touted the pair’s accomplishments — including action on border security and the appointment of three Supreme Court justices “who sent Roe vs. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs.”

But he said he disagrees with Trump and other Republicans “wanting to pull back from American leadership” on the global stage, and he knocked Trump for a position on the national debt that’s “identical to Joe Biden’s.”

Pence is among several GOP presidential candidates to participate in The Gathering in Atlanta, though Trump is not on the schedule. 

Tags 2024 presidential election debate Donald Trump Erick Erickson GOP debate Joe Biden Mike Pence Mike Pence