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Mike Pence says he will not endorse Donald Trump for president in 2024

Former vice president Mike Pence said Friday that he will not endorse Donald Trump, the president with whom he served, just days after Trump won enough delegates to secure the Republican Party’s 2024 nomination.

Pence served under Trump but has been critical of the former president after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol in which Pence was targeted by a mob of pro-Trump supporters who wanted to stop certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Withholding his endorsement in a remarkable break with tradition, Pence rebuked his former boss in strong terms Friday, saying Trump’s agenda doesn’t align with his view of conservatism.

“Donald Trump is pursuing and articulating an agenda that is at odds with the conservative agenda that we governed on during our four years, and that is why I cannot in good conscience endorse Donald Trump in this campaign,” Pence told Fox News host Martha MacCallum.

The former vice president ran against Trump in the 2024 Republican primary but struggled to find traction in the race. He suspended his campaign in October — before votes were cast — when he was polling in the low single digits.

His refusal to endorse Trump stands out as many other former intraparty rivals and critics have consolidated behind the former president. This month, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed Trump, a striking turnaround after blaming him for the Capitol attack three years ago.

Pence most sharply split with Trump on Jan. 6, when he resisted Trump’s pressure to overturn his 2020 reelection defeat. Pence said Trump endangered his family that day, which featured some chants of “Hang Mike Pence” as rioters stormed the Capitol. Before the forceful split over the 2020 election, the former Indiana governor had served dutifully with Trump for four years.

But Pence said Friday that he has “profound differences” with Trump that go beyond the events of that day, including on the national debt, abortion and China.

Pence specifically cited Trump’s reversal on TikTok, the social media platform with China-based ownership. As president, Trump sought to ban the application unless it was acquired by a U.S. company, but now he is railing against a bill in Congress that would force TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, to divest from the video-sharing app.

Pence told Fox News that he will keep his November vote private but emphasized that he will not vote for Trump’s Democratic opponent, President Biden.

During his campaign announcement in June, Pence excoriated the former president for his actions during the Jan. 6 attack and his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. At the time, Pence declared: “Anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States and anyone who asks someone else to put them over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again.”

Pence also challenged Trump for his positions on abortion and entitlement programs as well as past comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin. During his campaign, Pence sought to return the GOP to more Reagan-era policy priorities and warned against the “siren song of populism.”

Pence had said he would sign a Republican National Committee pledge to support the eventual nominee.

Trump’s last major primary opponent, Nikki Haley, suspended her campaign this month and also did not endorse him. The former U.N. ambassador who served under Trump had signed the RNC pledge but suggested in her campaign’s final days that she no longer felt bound by it.

Trump secured the number of delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination Tuesday, setting up a long-anticipated rematch against Biden. But as the 2024 race refocuses on November’s general election, the former president faces 88 charges across four criminal cases, including two that center on his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.

Instead of campaigning for Trump, Pence said he would spend the rest of the year building support for a “broad mainstream conservative agenda.” Last month, a Pence-aligned group announced a $20 million effort to combat what it called the GOP’s “drift toward populism.”

Pence has likened populism to progressivism, saying populism is made of “little else than personal grievances and performative outrage.”

“Should the new populism of the right seize and guide our party, the Republican Party we’ve long known will cease to exist,” Pence said in a September speech. “And the fate of American freedom would be in doubt.”

Meryl Kornfield contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post
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