Donald Trump is going after his former vice president and fellow 2024 presidential contender, Mike Pence. On Saturday, the embattled frontrunner took to Truth Social to attack his former ally. “WOW, it’s finally happened! Liddle’ Mike Pence, a man who was about to be ousted as Governor Indiana until I came along and made him V.P., has gone to the Dark Side,” Trump posted. “I never told a newly emboldened (not based on his 2% poll numbers!) Pence to put me above the Constitution, or that Mike was ‘too honest.’ He’s delusional, and now he wants to show he’s a tough guy.”
The latest round of attacks follow false claims by Trump earlier this week suggesting the vice president “had power that Mike didn’t understand” to reject the electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. “I feel badly for Mike Pence, who is attracting no crowds, enthusiasm, or loyalty from people who, as a member of the Trump Administration, should be loving him,” Trump wrote on Wednesday. “He didn’t fight against Election Fraud.” Just the day before, Trump had been indicted for attempting to subvert the election on charges of defrauding the United States, obstructing an official government proceeding, and depriving people of civil rights provided by federal law or the Constitution.
The federal indictment mentions a January 1, 2021 call during which Trump allegedly called Pence “too honest” over his objection to reject contested electoral votes during the certification process. “Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States,” Pence said in a statement at the time. Trying to capitalize on Pence’s prominent role in the indictment, the former vice president’s campaign has started selling merchandise featuring the “too honest” phrase.
Pence’s escalating condemnation of Trump’s Big Lie doesn’t seem to be earning him any points with the former president’s supporters, some of whom called him a “traitor” and “a sellout” outside a campaign event in New Hampshire this week. “Why didn’t you uphold the constitution?” one man said. “I upheld the constitution,” Pence shot back, before adding, “Read it!” The former vice-president is currently polling at 3 percent, while Trump is crushing the GOP 2024 competition at 54 percent.
“President Trump was wrong then and he is wrong now,” Pence told Dana Bash on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning. “I had no right to overturn the election.” Pence went on: “The American people deserve to know that President Trump asked me to put him over my oath to the Constitution but I kept my oath and always will.” When asked if Trump asked him to pause the certification of the election result or to overturn it, Pence said, “the day before January 6, if memory serves, they came back—his lawyers did—and said we want you to reject votes outright. They were asking me to overturn the election.” Pence also said he didn’t recall Trump ever acknowledging to him that he had lost the election.
Pressed by Bash, Pence didn’t rule out supporting Trump if he becomes the Republican nominee. “I don’t think we’ll have to make that decision,” he said. “I’m confident I’ll be able to support the Republican nominee, especially if it’s me… Republican primary voters are going to choose new leadership for a new time in the life of our nation. They simply have got to move our country forward.”