Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday wouldn’t say if he would vote for Donald Trump if he ran for president again.
After Pence gave a speech at the conservative Young America’s Foundation at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., a student asked him: “If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president in 2024, will you vote for him?”
There were audible gasps and murmurs from the audience.
“Well, there might be somebody else I’d prefer more,” Pence said, setting off a round of applause. “What I can tell you is I have every confidence that the Republican Party is going to sort out leadership. All my focus has been on the midterm elections and it will stay that way for the next 20 days.”
“But after that, we’ll be thinking about the future. Ours and the nations. And I’ll keep you posted,” Pence added.
Pence has declined to reveal whether he’s running for president in 2024, though he’s made multiple visits to early primary states to make speeches and campaign with GOP candidates.
A rift has opened between Trump and Pence in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, when an angry mob of Trump’s supporters laid siege to the U.S. Capitol and threatened to hang Pence because he declined to help Trump attempt a coup.
Pence had to be evacuated from the Senate chamber during the riot. Members of his security detail have said they feared for their lives during the ordeal.
Trump was apparently apathetic about the death threats his vice president received. In a March 2021 interview, he defended his supporters when asked about their threats to Pence. “The people were very angry,” Trump said.
Trump confirmed in March this year that Pence would not be his running mate if he decided to throw his hat in the ring in 2024.
“I don’t think the people would accept it,” Trump said at the time. “Mike and I had a great relationship except for the very important factor that took place at the end,” he added, referring to Pence’s refusal to help him overturn a democratic election.
While Pence has often defended policy achievements of the Trump administration, he’s stood firmly by his decision regarding the election certification and said on multiple occasions that Trump was wrong to think that the vice president had the authority to overturn the results.