By Marianne Love
In one of his first public appearances to promote his new memoir, former Vice President Mike Pence took the stage on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum in Simi Valley. His laid-back personality, although solemn at times, was juxtaposed by a relaxed sense of humor.
“So Help Me God,” which was released Nov. 14, is about his faith and his life leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, when rioters stormed Capitol Hill, went hunting for Pence to overturn the election, and threatened his life — stopping him from certifying the election results that declared Joe Biden president over Donald Trump.
Pence refused to leave the Capitol and then reconvened Congress once the situation calmed down, to complete the peaceful transfer of power to Biden. The Pence memoir chronicles the events and people who shaped his character and led him to that historic moment.
And it was that foundation that drove him on Jan. 6, which on Thursday he called “a tragic day.”
In an interview with The Associated Press just hours after Trump this week announced another White House run, Pence wouldn’t say if he thought Trump was fit to be president. But Pence has positioned himself as a potential alternative for Republicans.
”I think we will have better choices in 2024,” Pence told AP. “I’m very confident that Republican primary voters will choose wisely.” He said that he and his family will gather over the holidays “and we’ll give prayerful consideration to what our role might be in the days ahead.”
Asked by AP whether he blamed Trump for Republican losses on Nov. 8, he said, “Certainly the president’s continued efforts to re-litigate the last election played a role, but … each individual candidate is responsible for their own campaign.”
In his book, Pence writes about an Indiana history professor who inspired his devotion to the U.S. Constitution, how his early political career was full of missteps that humbled him, and how as a talk radio host he followed a path leading to Congress, the Indiana governor’s office and eventually the vice presidency.
Time and time on Thursday night he referred to his faith in God, his marriage to his wife, Karen, and his family. He said the hardest day in his life was when his father passed away in Ohio.
“It was the worst day of my life, by far,” Pence told the audience in Simi Valley.
When asked what advice he would give to families, he acknowledged all families in America have busy lives.
“Come home for dinner,” Pence said. “The family is the cornerstone of our civilization. I do believe a strong family makes a strong community and strong communities make a strong America, and with strong families there is nothing we can’t achieve as Americans.”
“So Help Me God,” is an inside story of the Trump-Pence Administration, how Pence was tested, and the most robust defense of its record by anyone who served during those four years, according to book reviews.
It is also about the private moments, from the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into evidence that Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the U.S. 2016 election, to the white supremacist attack in Charlottesville, to healing racial rifts after the murder of George Floyd, and the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pence, a Democrat in his youth who did not come from a political family, said he was inspired by President Reagan’s common-sense, heartland conservatism and outlook on life.
“He inspired me to join the Republican Party and never look back,” Pence said. “Ronald Reagan had a heart and a gentleness and respect for everyone, always, and that inspired me.”
On Wednesday, AP reported that Pence remained largely reticent to criticize Trump beyond Jan. 6, showing that Trump is still widely popular with a GOP base that Pence needs to win over if he hopes to be competitive in primary contests.
“It wasn’t exactly the style of presidency that I would have advanced had I been the first name on the ballot,” Pence told AP of his relationship with Trump. “But it was his presidency and I was there to support him and help him. And until that fateful day in January 2021, I sought to do just that.”
Pence, an evangelical Christian whose every life’s decisions were made in that vein, said he and his family have discussed whether Pence should run against Trump. He has made clear that he believes there are better choices for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination than Trump.
While Pence appeared to be supportive of Trump when the two were in office, and they were said to have a tight bond, that relationship disintegrated after Jan. 6. At the end of Trump’s presidency, they were at odds.
Pence has since refused to testify before the Jan. 6 Committee.
Source: Orange County Register