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Douglas Andrews / Apr. 8, 2021

Mike Pence Makes a Statement

With the launch of a new political organization, the former VP is showing all the signs of a 2024 presidential run.

If Mike Pence isn’t planning a run for president, he’s got a strange way of showing it.

His launch yesterday of Advancing American Freedom, a policy and advocacy organization promoting “the pro-freedom policies of the last four years that created unprecedented prosperity at home and restored respect for America abroad,” sounds like the effort of a man with serious designs on 2024.

“It has long been clear,” writes the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, “that the Republican Party, after President Donald Trump, will not return to the political, ideological, and cultural place it had been before Trump. On the other hand, it will not become a carbon copy of Trump. The question is, who will lead the GOP to create some sort of post-Trump synthesis?”

And the answer could be Mike Pence.

“Advancing American Freedom,” the former vice president says, “plans to build on the success of the last four years by promoting traditional Conservative values and promoting the successful policies of the Trump Administration. Conservatives will not stand idly by as the radical Left and the new administration attempt to threaten America’s standing as the greatest Nation in the world with their destructive policies.”

This is all quite a reemergence for the fundamentally decent Pence, especially given what transpired at the Capitol building on January 6. At that time, he was vilified for having refused to snap his fingers and unilaterally overturn the 2020 presidential election — as if that was ever more than a fever dream.

“Hang Mike Pence,” the angry mobs shouted that day. Really?

“A Trump run in 2024 is highly, highly unlikely,” says York, “and Pence and all those Republicans preparing to run will have to do the work of creating a new Republican Party while Trump is being Trump. There will be a fine line to walk between acknowledging Trump’s accomplishments and their debt to him, and creating a Republican agenda going forward. It will be a difficult job, but somebody will figure out how to do it.”

Pence, it would seem, already has. He served for four years as the mercurial Trump’s steady and loyal number two, always supportive, always deferential, and always articulate when it came to promoting and defending the Trump record. And from a newly launched Twitter page, Team Pence appears poised to pick up where he left off three months ago.

As for Trump, Pence’s new organization appears to have his blessing, and the two have been in regular contact since leaving office. “It was the most successful first term in American history,” Trump said in a statement sent to the Washington Examiner. “Nice to see Mike highlighting some of our many achievements!”

“Aides shrug off questions about 2024,” as the Washington Examiner’s Rob Crilly writes, “but with a list of advisory board members that reads like backers, former Vice President Mike Pence’s new political group looks like a bid to position himself as Trumpism’s heir apparent and for a White House run. Advancing American Freedom’s advisory board includes Trump administration alumni such as Kellyanne Conway, former Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought, and Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer, along with luminaries of the conservative movement such as Jim DeMint and David McIntosh.”

The 2024 campaign may be a long way off, but Mike Pence has clearly set down a marker. As he put it in an op-ed in today’s Washington Times, “The policies of the Trump-Pence administration set our nation on the path of freedom. With the support of patriots across this country, and God’s grace, Advancing American Freedom will help ensure that we continue to boldly forge a future of freedom for all the American people.”

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