By Tim Darnell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Troy Warren for CNT
Former Vice President Mike Pence was heckled Friday as he delivered a speech at the conservative Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Orlando, Florida.
Pence was delivering a speech at the Faith & Freedom Coalition, founded by Ralph Reed, when he was interrupted with cries of “Traitor!” Some people were reportedly escorted out of the event.
The organization was founded by Reed, former chair of the Georgia GOP. Reed was also executive director of the Christian Coalition and is now chair and CEO of Century Strategies, a public relations/affairs firm.
Pence served as Donald Trump’s vice president and since his former boss’ electoral defeat in November has seemingly been laying the groundwork for a potential White House run. Many Republicans who were angry at Trump in the days after the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot are coming back around to the former president, who also continues to tease another presidential campaign himself.
Pence, speaking at a Republican dinner earlier this month in the early-voting state of New Hampshire, gave his most extensive comments to date on the events of Jan. 6, when angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, some chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” after the vice president said he did not have the power to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
“As I said that day, Jan. 6 was a dark day in history of the United States Capitol. But thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled. The Capitol was secured,” Pence said. “And that same day, we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States,” Pence continued. “You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office. And I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day.”
Pence accused Biden of campaigning as a moderate but becoming the most liberal president since Franklin D. Roosevelt. He said the administration forced through Congress “a COVID bill to fund massive expansion of the welfare state” and was pushing a “so-called infrastructure bill” that was really a “thinly disguised climate change bill” funded with cuts in the military and historic tax increases.
During the New Hampshire speech, Pence also hit upon several favorite themes of conservative Republicans, emphasizing the need for states to shore up voter integrity around the country. He praised law enforcement as heroes, saying: “Black lives are not endangered by police. Black lives are saved by police every day.”
Pence’s choice of states, including an April appearance in South Carolina, is aimed at increasing his visibility as he considers whether to run for the White House in 2024.
Since leaving office in January, Pence also has been doing work with the Heritage Foundation and Young America’s Foundation. His team said he plans more trips, including stops in Texas, California and Michigan.
Along with his visits to South Carolina and New Hampshire, Pence has been hitting the fundraising circuit. He spoke last week at another fundraiser hosted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, then traveled to North Carolina for a Heritage Foundation donor event. He is also heading to California, where he will take part in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute’s speakers’ series, a Republican National Committee donor retreat and a Young America’s Foundation event, according to aides.
Among other prominent Republicans, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said in April that she would stand down if Trump decided to run in 2024. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has undertaken an aggressive schedule, visiting states that will play a pivotal role in the 2024 primaries and signing a contract with Fox News Channel.
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