Douglas Andrews / June 7, 2021

Mike Pence Goes All-In on MAGA

The former vice president has redoubled his support for Donald Trump’s America First policies.

Last week in New Hampshire, Mike Pence threaded a needle. He’d better get used to doing it.

“President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office,” said the former vice president at the Hillsborough County Republican Committee’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner. “I don’t know if we will ever see eye to eye on that day, but I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years. And I will not allow Democrats or their allies in the media to use one tragic day to discredit the aspirations of millions of Americans.”

And there, in a nutshell, is that threaded needle — the three-part challenge facing the former vice president from now until the 2024 election: first, acknowledging the events of January 6 and his heartfelt disagreement with Donald Trump about them; second, relentlessly returning the focus to the far more fertile ground of the America First agenda and the conservative policies that made it so successful; and third, punching back against a Trump-deranged Democrat Party and their media trucklings whenever they try to tar 74 million Trump-Pence voters with the brush of a relative handful of hooligans.

Pence would no doubt prefer to turn the page on the Capitol riot, but neither the media nor the Democrats will let him. Instead, they’ll continue to remind him all about it, and they’ll continue to reach for the smelling salts each time he and his fellow Republicans express an interest in moving beyond it. The January 6 riot was, after all, the least violent and least successful “insurrection” in world history — that is, unless you ask Joe Biden, in which case it was “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”

On this night, however, Pence was among friends. One of those friends, New Hampshire Republican Governor Chris Sununu, introduced him. Sununu’s remarks begin at the 9:10 mark, and Pence’s begin at 16:15.

“Y'know, I learned a lot serving alongside President Donald Trump,” said Pence. “Some people think we’re a little bit different. But I think what President Trump showed us was what Republicans can accomplish when our leaders stand firm on conservative principles and don’t back down. That’s exactly what he did, for four years. And under President Donald Trump, and our administration, it was four years of consequence, four years of results. It was four years of promises made and promises kept.”

Pence went on to rattle off a list of high-level achievements: the lowest unemployment rate, highest household income, greatest energy production, the best trade deals, the most secure border, and the strongest military in the history of the world. In a word: MAGA.

He then drilled down a bit: annihilating the ISIS caliphate, isolating Iran and tearing up Barack Obama’s rotten nuke deal, moving the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, orchestrated historic peace deals between Arab states and Israel, confirming three Supreme Court justices, and standing strong for human life — these were all great successes.

“But how times have changed,” he said. “The governor said he didn’t come here to bash the current administration. … Well I did. So buckle up.” Pence then went on to rattle off “an avalanche of big government liberal policies the likes of which I never even imagined we’d see in our lifetimes.” He quipped, “The truth is, they’ve been so busy on their side, sometimes I think the left hand doesn’t know what the far left hand is doing.”

Pence also pushed back against the Left’s pernicious Critical Race Theory. “America is not a racist country,” he said, prompting one of several standing ovations he received. “It is past time for America to discard the left-wing myth of systemic racism. … I commend state legislators and governors across the country for banning Critical Race Theory from our schools.”

He then compared the presidency of the dinner’s namesake to that of our 45th president. “President Reagan articulated an agenda that he never took credit for. Because it was an American agenda. He said, ‘People say I’m a great communicator. I’m not a great communicator; I just communicated great things.’ President Donald Trump did the same thing. It was and agenda of a strong and prosperous American built on freedom. And that’s our agenda.”

In closing, Pence returned to a place of great personal strength and comfort. “God isn’t done with America yet,” he said. “I just know in those ancient words that it’s always been true that if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, and turn, and seek His face, He’ll do like He’s always done in much more challenging times than we could possibly imagine. He’ll hear from Heaven, and He’ll heal this land — this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

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