Pence’s pass comes as criticism of his former boss on other issues escalates. And it suggests that Trump’s main competitors in the 2024 Republican presidential primaries will try to avoid his mounting legal troubles.
But Pence stood by the harshest criticism of Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, which he delivered at the recent Gridiron dinner in Washingtonin which he said that history would hold the former president responsible for the riot.
Trump lashed out at the claim during a campaign rally in Iowa earlier this week and tried to pin the blame for Jan. 6 on Pence. But Pence responded Thursday in New Hampshire.
“I know our former president said he had the right to revoke the election, but Donald Trump is wrong,” Pence said. “He had no right to annul the election. The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone.»
He also continued to press another potential rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a «territorial dispute,» though he did not use his name.
“Let me be very clear: the Russian invasion is not a territorial dispute. It was an act of unprovoked aggression against a sovereign nation. And it must be met with American force,” Pence said. But, he added to applause, «we shouldn’t be sending service members into dangerous situations in Ukraine.»
Pence’s appearance at the Cheshire County Republican Dinner marked his first trip this year to the first state with a Republican primary in the nation.