Pence urges GOP to move past Trump, teases face-off against former boss

Former Vice President Mike Pence declined Wednesday to say whether he would support former President Donald Trump should he be the Republican presidential nominee declaring that the GOP is ripe for new leadership.

Mr. Pence said he hoped voters will have “better choices” in 2024, again fanning speculation that he may face off against his former boss in the primaries.

“The American people are looking for new leadership, leadership that will unite our country around our highest ideals of leadership that will reflect the civility and respect that most Americans have for one another,” Mr. Pence said during a primetime town hall hosted by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Mr. Trump formally announced Tuesday night that he would seek his party’s nomination for the presidency in 2024, despite growing pushback within the GOP in the wake of the party’s disappointing showing in the midterm elections.

The former vice president, who is making the rounds to promote his new book “So Help Me God,” has put his fractured relationship with Mr. Trump on full display.

In his book, Mr. Pence, who was on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, details at length the events following the 2020 election, which has been a lightning rod within the GOP and driven a deep wedge between Mr. Pence and Mr. Trump.

During Wednesday’s town hall, Mr. Pence said was angered by Mr. Trump’s actions leading up to the attack on the Capitol and for not condemning the rioters as they stormed the building.

Mr. Pence also condemned Mr. Trump’s midday post on Jan. 6 chastising him for not challenging the election results before Congress, as rioters stormed the Capitol.

“The president’s words and tweet that day were reckless,” he said. “They endangered my family and all the people at the Capitol.”

“I pray for the grace to forgive him and all those for that tragic day,” he said.

But as for whether he could throw his support behind Mr. Trump in 2024, Mr. Pence said he hopes voters will have “better choices.”

“I have every confidence that we will produce a standard bearer for our party, whoever he or she may be, that will lead us to victory in 2024.”

“Whatever role I and my family play in the Republican Party, whether it’s a candidate or simply a part of the cause, I think we’ll have better choices.”

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