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If you need further evidence of the growing chasm between former Vice President Mike Pence and his former boss, former President Donald Trump, check out Pence’s speech this weekend at the Republican National Committee (RNC) retreat ) for major GOP donors.
“There’s no place in this party for Putin apologists. There’s only room for champions of freedom,” Pence said at the RNC rally in New Orleans, according to reports. excerpts from his speech obtained by Fox News and tweets from the former vice president. President.
And a Republican source in the room during Pence’s Friday night appearance told Fox News the line was applauded by the audience at the event, which was closed to the press.
PENCE, IN FOX NEWS INTERVIEW, CALLS ON BIDEN TO HIT RUSSIA HARDER
Pence did not refer to Trump by name, but his targeting of those in the GOP who did not condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s murderous invasion of neighboring Ukraine follows the former president’s recent remarks. describing Putin’s “genius” and “savant” in launching the attack.
During a speech a week ago at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, Trump reaffirmed his stance toward the Russian leader, telling the crowd that Putin was “smart.”
Trump was scheduled to speak at the RNC Donor Retreat on Saturday night.
Pence also brushed off Trump during his speech about the former president’s constant questioning of his 2020 election defeat to current President Biden and his repeated assertions, without providing concrete evidence, that his defeat was due to massive electoral fraud.
“Elections are about the future,” Pence said, pointing to comments he made during a December interview with Fox News. “My fellow Republicans, we can only win if we are united around an optimistic vision of the future based on our highest values. We cannot win by fighting the battles of yesterday, or by questioning the past.”
WATCH 2024: THE DIVISION BETWEEN PENCE AND TRUMP IS WIDENING
Trump and his former vice president could potentially face off if the two decide to bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Trump has repeatedly flirted with another race for the White House, and Pence is making the first move that could possibly lead to its own offer.
Pence, who has traveled the country to help his fellow Republicans run for office in November, told Fox News during a stop in New Hampshire in early December that after the end of the midterms, “we will do as our family has always done. We will reflect, pray and consider where we might serve next.”
For four years, Pence served as Trump’s loyal vice president.
But that all changed on Jan. 6, 2021, as right-wing extremists — including some chanting to “hang Mike Pence” — stormed the U.S. Capitol in a bid to overturn Congress’ certification of the Electoral College’s victory. Biden who was overseen by Pence.
ARE TRUMP AND PENCE NOT TALKING ANYMORE?
In the more than 13 months since the end of the Trump administration, the former president and vice president have grown further apart, with Pence acknowledging in a Fox News interview in January that he had not spoken with Trump since last summer.
And last month, in his strongest language yet, Pence berated his former boss, calling him by his name while discussing Trump’s claim that Pence could have overturned the presidential election results. of 2020.
“There are members of our party who believe that as chairman of the joint session of Congress, I possessed the unilateral power to throw out votes from the electoral colleges,” Pence said near the end of a speech at the meeting. a Federalist Society conference in Florida in which he primarily targeted the Biden administration.
PENCE RESERVES THE FOLLOWING TRIPS TO SOUTH CAROLINA
“I heard this week President Trump said I had the right to ‘overturn the election.’ President Trump is wrong…I didn’t have the right to overturn the election,” Pence said. to the applause of the crowd of conservative lawyers.
Christie, Hutchinson, New Hampshire
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will travel later this month to New Hampshire, the state that for a century held the first presidential primary in the race for the White House.
Fox News reported Thursday that the former two-term governor and 2016 GOP presidential nominee will speak March 21 at “Politics and Eggs” at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. The series of lectures over the past two decades have become a must-stop for White House hopefuls visiting the Granite State.
Six years ago, Christie’s presidential race crashed and burned after a disappointing and distant sixth place finish in the New Hampshire presidential primary, where he had placed all of his chips.
CHRIS CHRISTIE PUSHES GOP’S POST-TRUMP VISION
Unlike nearly every other potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, Christie has no problem speaking publicly about his likely national ambitions, telling Fox News in November that “having run before, I’m not going to run for the I had the If I run, I run because I think I can win and I think I can make a difference.
Fox News also reported that Republican limited-time Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas will speak at “Politics and Eggs” on April 25.
The two-term conservative governor and president of the National Governors Association has voiced his opposition to Trump remaining as GOP leader. Hutchinson said Trump should not lead the country, or the Republican Party, in the future. And he also said he would not support Trump when the former president ran for the White House again in 2024.
Klobuchar in New Hampshire
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota this weekend became the latest alumnus of the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race to return to New Hampshire.
Kloubuchar on Saturday was in the coastal town of Portsmouth to headline a big New Hampshire Democratic Party dinner and fundraiser.
New Hampshire is a key battleground for the general election and while Klobuchar’s mission concerned the 2022 election, his trip sparked a touch of buzz in 2024 as speculation persists that Biden, 79, may not not seek re-election to a second term even though he has repeatedly said he will still run.
Klobuchar is no stranger to the Granite State. She earned a solid third place in New Hampshire’s 2020 Democratic presidential primary — just points behind Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and now Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg stopped by the state in December to showcase the benefits of the recently passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure, which was one of the Biden administration’s top national achievements.
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And Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who also ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, also returned to New Hampshire in December to headline a major party fundraising dinner. ‘State.
Saturday’s dinner was in honor of Martha Fuller Clark, a longtime former state senator, vice chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party for a decade and a half and a delegate to every Democratic National Convention since 1996.
Fox News Mark Meredith and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report