Former Vice President Mike Pence, a potential rival to Donald Trump in 2024, gave a speech Tuesday in Washington outlining an “agenda for the future” and called on the party “not to look back.”
Both Pence and Trump returned to Washington on Tuesday for the first time since leaving office, giving dueling speeches hours apart.
“I believe conservatives need to focus on the future to win America back,” Pence told Young America’s Foundation, a conservative student group. “We cannot afford to take our eyes off the road ahead of us, because what is at stake is the very survival of our way of life.”
Trump’s appearance in the nation’s capital — his first trip since Jan. 20, 2021, when President Joe Biden was sworn in — comes as some thinking people grow more willing to challenge him directly.
Among them was Pence, who presented his “freedom agenda” not far from where Trump was due to speak to an allied think tank that has drawn up an agenda for a possible second term.
LOOK: Republican divide widens as Trump and Pence take divergent paths
While Trump still often complains about the election he says was stolen from him a year and a half ago, Pence said: “Some people may choose to focus on the past, but elections are about the coming.”
The former White House partners again make identical appearances after campaigning for rival candidates in Arizona on Friday.
And they come amid news that former Pence chief of staff Marc Short testified before a federal grand jury investigating the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol.
Short was on Capitol Hill that day as Pence fled an angry mob of rioters calling for his hanging after Trump falsely insisted that Pence had the power to overturn election results.
Asked about the growing rift between Trump and himself, a man who was once the former president’s most loyal sidekick, Pence said the two did not differ on issues.
“But we can differ on focus. I truly believe that elections are about the future and that it is absolutely critical at a time when so many Americans are hurting and so many families are struggling, that we not give in to the temptation to look back,” he said. -he declares.
Pence had also planned to deliver a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on the eve of Trump’s visit, but that was postponed because his plane was hijacked by bad weather.
Trump’s speech comes as his allies have urged him to spend more time talking about his vision for the future and less time re-launching the 2020 election as he prepares to announce a planned campaign for 2024 to the White House.
Since leaving office, Trump has spent much of his time focusing on the 2020 election and spreading lies about his loss to cast doubt on Biden’s victory.
Indeed, even as the House Jan. 6 committee laid bare his desperate attempts to stay in power and his refusal to call out a violent mob of his supporters as they tried to halt the peaceful transition of power, Trump has continued to try to pressure officials to overturn Biden’s victory, although there is no legal way to decertify it.