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For four years, Mike Pence served as the loyal vice president to then-President Donald Trump.
Everything changed on Jan. 6, 2021, as right-wing extremists – including some chanting “hang Mike Pence” – stormed the U.S. Capitol aiming to upend congressional certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory that was overseen by Pence.
In the year since the end of the Trump administration, the former president and vice president have further drifted apart, with Pence acknowledging recently in a Fox News interview that he had not spoken with Trump since last summer.
ARE TRUMP AND PENCE NO LONGER ON SPEAKING TERMS?
On Friday, in his strongest language to date, Pence rebuked his one-time boss, calling him out by name while discussing Trump’s claim that Pence could have overturned the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“There are those in our party who believe that as the presiding officer over the joint session of Congress, I possessed unilateral authority to reject electoral college votes,” Pence said near the end of a speech at a Federalist Society conference in Florida in which he mostly took aim at the Biden administration.
“I heard this week, President Trump said I had the right to ‘overturn the election’. President Trump is wrong … I had no right to overturn the election,” Pence said to applause from the crowd of conservative lawyers.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive for a rally at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan, on Nov. 2, 2020.
(Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
A week ago, Trump argued that a new bipartisan push in the Senate to revise and further clarify the vice president’s ceremonial role in the quadrennial counting of Electoral College votes by Congress was proof that Pence had the power to upend the results.
“What they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away,” Trump argued in his statement as he stepped up his repeated criticism of Pence for certifying the election. “Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!”
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE’S JAN. 6 CONUNDRUM
By following his constitutional duties instead of following the then-president’s wishes and overturning the results of an election Trump has repeatedly claimed – without providing concrete proof – was “rigged” and “stolen” from him, Pence has endured the wrath of Trump and his most devout loyalists and supporters.
Protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo/File)
For a year, Pence has repeatedly described the deadly attack on the Capitol as “tragic” and that he did “the right thing” and performed his “duty under the Constitution.” While he remains proud of the accomplishments of the Trump-Pence administration and continues to strongly support the former president’s polices, he has acknowledged several times that he and Trump may never “see eye to eye on that day.”
WHY MIKE PENCE’S NEW HAMPSHIRE SPEECH WAS SO IMPORTANT
During his Friday speech, Pence emphasized that “frankly there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American President.”
“Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election,” Pence continued. “And Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Florida chapter of the Federalist Society’s annual meeting at in Walt Disney World on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Lake Buena Vista. (Stephen M. Dowell/Lake Buena Vista Sentinel via AP)
Both Trump and his former vice president could potentially face off if both decide to bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Trump has repeatedly flirted with making another White House run, and Pence is making the early moves that could eventually lead to a bid of his own.
Pence, who has been crisscrossing the country to help fellow Republicans running in the November elections, told Fox News during a stop in New Hampshire in early December that after the midterms are over, “we’ll do as our family has always done. We’ll reflect and pray and consider where we might next serve.”
One year removed from the White House, Trump remains the most popular and powerful figure in the GOP, as he continues to play a kingmaker’s role in party politics. Pence allies waited for a sharp counter-attack from Trump after the former vice president’s speech instantly made national headlines, but Trump’s statement hours later did not include a blistering attack on his former vice president.
TRUMP 2024 TEASE DOESN’T STOP OTHER POTENTIAL GOP CONTENDERS FROM VISITING EARLY VOTING STATES
“Just saw Mike Pence’s statement on the fact that he had no right to do anything with respect to the Electoral Vote Count, other than being an automatic conveyor belt for the Old Crow Mitch McConnell to get Biden elected President as quickly as possible,’ Trump wrote. “Well, the Vice President’s position is not an automatic conveyor if obvious signs of voter fraud or irregularities exist.”
Trump also argued “that’s why the Democrats and RINOs are working feverishly together to change the very law that Mike Pence and his unwitting advisors used on January 6 to say he had no choice.”
Pence delivered his speech in Florida a couple of hours after the Republican National Committee (RNC) – gathered at its winter meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah – took the rare step of censuring GOP Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for their participation in a Democrat-dominated House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.
Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger listen during a meeting of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 19. 2021.
The resolution also states the RNC will “no longer support them as members of the Republican Party.”
The two vocal GOP critics of Trump were the highest profile of the 10 House Republicans to vote last year to impeach the then-President for allegedly inciting the deadly riot at the Capitol, and Cheney and Kinzinger are the only two Republican members on the panel investigating the attack.
RNC MAKES RARE MOVE TO CENSURE TWO OF ITS OWN: REPUBLICAN REPS. CHENEY AND KINZINGER
RNC chair Ronna McDaniel charged in a statement after the vote to approve the resolution that “Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line. They chose to join [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol.”
Friday’s twin blockbuster developments spotlight the divide in the GOP – as the party aims in this November’s midterm elections to regain majorities in the House and Senate – between those who support Trump’s push to look back to the 2020 election – and those like Pence who insist that “the time has come to focus on the future.”
No changes likely for GOP’s 2024 primary calendar
Overshadowed by the Cheney/Kinzinger resolution was the unanimous passage by an RNC panel of a report that makes no changes to the traditional top of the GOP’s presidential nominating calendar.
The party’s Presidential Nominating Process Committee is chaired by Jeff Kaufmann, the GOP chair from Iowa, the state whose caucuses have kicked off both parties’ primary and caucus calendar for half a century. Also sitting on the panel is the GOP chair from New Hampshire – which has held the first-in-the-nation presidential primary for a century and holds the second contest following Iowa – and the chairs from South Carolina and Nevada, the other two early carve out states that vote third and fourth in the Republican calendar.
CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST FOX NEWS REPORTING FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
“While we are one step closer to ensuring the carve out process is secured, I’m not taking anything for granted. If we want to ensure that anyone can be President, the carve out process and the Iowa Caucuses must be protected,” Kaufmann told Fox News.
New Hampshire has held the first-in-the-nation presidential primary for a century, as noted by a historical marker outside the state Capitol in Concord. (Fox News)
The move by the RNC to safeguard their calendar comes as some members of the rival Democratic National Committee are pushing to upend the longstanding tradition of Iowa and New Hampshire kicking off the nominating process, due in part to the lack of diversity in either state.
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The entire RNC will hold a vote on the panel’s report on the primary calendar when national party members convene for their summer meeting in early August.
McDaniel, on the eve of the winter meeting, told Fox News that “as of now I have not heard any recommendations to change the calendar. But I am not going to get ahead of our committee and our members on that front.”
Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, center, at the conclusion of the RNC’s winter meeting, in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Feb. 4, 2022.
(Fox News’ Lee Ross)
Trump, in a statement on Saturday evening, pledged that “with me, Iowa will ALWAYS keep its first-in-the-Nation status.”
2024 convention update
Two Republican sources with knowledge of the situation tells Fox News that the RNC is likely in the coming couple of weeks to narrow from four to three the number of cities it’s considering to host its 2024 presidential nominating convention.
The four cities remaining in the running are Salt Lake City, Nashville, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh.
The sources confirm it’s likely that Pittsburgh will be the first city jettisoned.
The final decision on the host city will be announced at the summer meeting.
2024 Watch: Trump-Pence chasm over Capitol attack widens amid fight for GOP future appeared first on maserietv.com.