Mike Pence Is Set to Make First Speech Since Leaving Office

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Former Vice President Mike Pence is planning to make his first public remarks since leaving office in January, an appearance that is certain to be heavily scrutinized for any hints of his political ambitions in the future and clues about the status of his relationship with former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Pence’s choice of a venue for the appearance — a dinner next month in South Carolina that is being hosted by a social conservative organization — suggests that he is happy to keep stoking speculation that he may run for president in 2024. And the trip, which was reported earlier by The Associated Press, will not be his first to the crucial early primary state. Mr. Pence spoke to a private gathering of another conservative group in Charleston last month.

But it is Mr. Trump’s next move that will also help determine how much of a future Mr. Pence has in the Republican Party. The two departed Washington on a sour note, with the former president furious that Mr. Pence did not attempt to halt the certification of the electoral vote on Jan. 6.

Though Mr. Pence lacked the authority under the Constitution to keep President Biden from being certified as the winner, Mr. Trump and his supporters believed otherwise. And when a mob of hundreds of extremists smashed their way into the Capitol as Congress was voting to formalize the results of the election, some were filmed calling Mr. Pence a traitor and demanding his execution.

Mr. Trump displayed little contrition over the episode or for attacking Mr. Pence as the mob grew more violent that day, writing on Twitter that the former vice president “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.”

Mr. Pence’s speech in South Carolina, set for April 29 in Columbia, will be for the Palmetto Family Council, a group that has recently supported the efforts by conservative lawmakers to ban most abortions in the state. But like many other conservative groups, it has also questioned the accuracy of the presidential election and urged Congress to “investigate and address issues of voting irregularity.”

Mr. Pence has also joined the effort to mislead the public into believing that the last election was tainted. Last week he published an opinion piece on a Heritage Foundation website declaring that he shared “the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of the 2020 election.”



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