Pence spoke recently at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, DC, hosted by journalists and attended by politicians. During his speech, he discussed the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol:
Pence: "President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the [November 2020] election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable."
AFN spoke with Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, who in a recent column argued that Pence wants to attract anti-Trumpers.
"Mike Pence seems to be running to be the next Mitt Romney, the next establishment Republican presidential candidate … the controlled opposition that just follows along and carries water for the Left's agenda," Spencer states. "It's a disgrace – and he himself has been a disgrace ever since January 6."
A family advocate in Pence's home state of Indiana recently told AFN that the former VP's comments about being in danger that day were disingenuous. Spencer agrees and contends Pence's life was never in danger.
"There wasn't any serious possibility of his actually being put into physical peril," says the Jihad Watch leader. "The fact is, though, that the whole narrative has unraveled with the revelations of the police peacefully leading the guy with the Viking horns around the Capitol and nobody seems upset."
But Spencer says Pence seems willing to advance the Left's narrative regarding Trump, going so far as to ignore the fact Trump told protesters on January 6 to proceed "peacefully and patriotically."
"Obviously this is a self-serving cynical and one-sided ploy by the Left in order to silence its critics," says Spencer. "And Mike Pence is playing along, which if anything should disqualify him from any consideration [for] president of the United States."
But Spencer says Pence – who only draws single-digit interest in most polls – appears convinced he could actually become the establishment's choice in 2024, even running as an underdog. "From the sound of his recent statements, he would play this role eagerly," he writes.