Former Vice President Mike Pence previewed the kind of smash-mouth campaign people can expect if he runs with a stinging burn on former President Donald Trump.
On Friday night’s edition of NBC Nightly News, NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent Ali Vitali started rolling out portions of her exclusive interview with Pence that included an electric several minutes on Pence’s likely impending announcement that he’ll be losing badly in the 2024 primary that included the mic-dropping “better choices” burn he’s been using for several months — but he said that mess THREE TIMES, son!:
ALI VITALI: I want to talk about the moment that we’re in right now. There’s a lot of speculation about potentially you running for president. I know you’ve said that you’re thinking about that. What’s your timeline for a decision there?
MIKE PENCE: Well, I’m always very humbled when, when people ask about our future. And we’ve been traveling around the country over the last few years, we’ve gotten a lot of encouragement to consider entering the race for President of the United States and we’re giving a prayerful consideration. I do think we have time.You know, the American people know me, they know the Pence family. And so, we’re going to continue to travel and listen. I like what Ronald Reagan said many years ago when he offered the—the American people have a funny way of letting you know if they want you to run for president. So, we’re listening, we’re reflecting, we’re talking to friends. But I promise to keep you posted.
ALI VITALI: So, do you think by summer? First debate is in August.
MIKE PENCE: Oh, I think, I think by the spring our family expects to have a very clear sense of our calling. You know, I’ve often said I think there’s two kinds of people in politics. There’s people that are called, people that are driven. And if you read my book that came out late last year, you’ll you’ll read that I’ve been both. I’ve allowed my political ambition to get ahead of my values. But over the last 20 years, we’ve tried to just answer to what we perceive to be a calling, to serve Indiana, to serve the people of this country. And so we’re going to, we’re going to be discerning about it, but I have a sense we’ll have a clearer idea by the spring.
ALI VITALI: I think implicit in saying that you’re considering running is the idea that you think you could be at least a different president, if not a better president, than your former boss. Can you delineate just one policy difference that you might have with him?
MIKE PENCE: Well, I think the times call for different leadership. And I’m confident we’ll have better choices–
ALI VITALI: And you’re thinking about being one?
MIKE PENCE: –than my old running mate come 2024. Because I–
ALI VITALI: Have you talked to him lately?
MIKE PENCE: I have not. But I will tell you that as I’ve traveled around the country, I’ve heard two things. Number one, I’ve heard countless Americans tell me that they want to get back to the policies of the Trump Pence administration. Policies that saw us make historic investments in our military, saw a peaceful and stable world, that saw our economy revived through tax cuts and unleashing American energy, saw conservatives on our courts and a secure southern border. But the next thing I hear Ali is that they want to see us and our politics return to the kind of civility and respect that Americans show one another every day. And I I think that when we think about the large challenges facing the country today, the rise of China, our greatest economic and strategic threat, when you think about the avalanche of debt that we’re piling on our children and grandchildren, when you think about what appears to be a steady assault on traditional values and families in America, now more than ever we need the policies but the civility that makes it possible for us to generate real solutions for the American people.
ALI VITALI: Yeah, so in order to qualify for the debates, if you were to run, you would have to sign an RNC pledge that says you would support the eventual nominee, whoever that is. Do you plan to sign that?
MIKE PENCE: Well, if I’m a candidate, I’m sure that, I’m sure that I’ll meet whatever the requirement is for debates. But I mean to tell you, I know there’s a particular focus on one candidate in the field today –
ALI VITALI: But especially for you.
MIKE PENCE: – but I’m gonna tell you I’m very confident that Republican primary voters are going to choose the right standard bearer for this moment in our nation’s history. Someone that can provide not only the policies in leadership but the style of leadership that will help bring our nation back.
ALI VITALI: I think there’s just, I think for people especially with you, there’s a question about if you think this is a moment as someone who served in the Trump Pence administration to have a new generation of leadership? If you think it’s time to move past President Trump?
MIKE PENCE: Well, as I said, like we’re giving serious consideration to, to entering the campaign for president because I think the American people deserve better choices than the choices of the past. Now that being said, I don’t think anybody could have beaten Hillary Clinton other than Donald Trump in 2016. And I was proud to run with and proud to serve with him. Obviously the administration did not end well. But I’ll always be proud of the record, the American people and I’ll always believe the American people chose well, in putting forward a standard bearer who could meet that moment, and win in 2016 but I really do believe that these times call for a different leadership. Experienced, grounded in the same principles and ideals but also, I think, I think the American people long for leadership that at least would have the chance of uniting us around our highest ideals, beginning with the respect and civility that the American people show one another every day.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.