Mike Pence Quits Presidential Race – On Saturday, ex-US Vice President Mike Pence unexpectedly withdrew from the 2024 presidential race, explaining that it wasn’t the right moment for him. This move underscored the firm grip Donald Trump, his embattled former boss, has on the Republican Party. The timing of this announcement took many by surprise.
Pence initially received a warm welcome when he took the stage at the annual gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. However, he astonished everyone by using this opportunity to be the first prominent 2024 candidate to put his campaign on hold. “It’s become clear to me: this is not my time,” Pence said. “After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president.”
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The unexpected setting aside, it had always appeared inevitable that Pence’s aspiration to challenge President Joe Biden in the upcoming year would come to an end. Over the course of four years, he had distinguished himself with unwavering loyalty to Trump, even during tumultuous times in the White House marked by impeachment, ethical controversies, and frequent turnover among senior staff.
However, when Trump urged Pence to take the extraordinary step of overturning Biden’s legitimate victory in the 2020 election, the typically compliant deputy held his ground. That defiance, which saw enraged pro-Trump supporters chanting “hang Mike Pence” as they stormed the Capitol to stop certification of the election on January 6, 2021, immediately made the devout Christian a pariah to the far-right.
As Trump rebounded from what was perceived by many as a potentially career-ending setback and then appeared to shrug off a string of criminal charges in his life after the presidency, Pence’s aspirations for establishing a fresh career path for himself were ultimately dashed. Despite enjoying national prominence and boasting years of experience in the political arena of Washington, his campaign lacked vigor.
If he hadn’t withdrawn on Saturday, he would have confronted the embarrassment of not receiving an invitation to participate in the primary candidates’ debate in Miami on November 8 due to insufficient polling support. Pence’s exit now simplifies the field somewhat for Ron DeSantis, the conservative Governor of Florida, who is considered Trump’s primary competitor.
Nevertheless, DeSantis is also perceived as having slim prospects of prevailing against the formidable Trump political machine. Shortly after Pence’s announcement, DeSantis posted on social media site X that the former vice president was “a principled man of faith who has worked tirelessly to advance the conservative cause.” The Democratic National Committee, on the other hand, expressed that Pence’s absence wouldn’t have a significant impact in an election involving Biden and the far-right Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement led by Trump.
“Mike Pence is just the latest MAGA presidential hopeful to face the consequences of running on a deeply unpopular and extreme agenda focused on stripping away Americans’ freedoms,” a DNC spokeswoman said. “Pence set the tone for the Republican primary, ensuring Republican candidates lined up behind an extreme agenda of banning abortion nationwide, slashing Social Security and Medicare, and campaigning for election deniers. Good riddance.”