Dear Commons Community,
Former Vice President Mike Pence pushed back against an audience member in Iowa City Monday who suggested he should have done more to help former President Donald Trump overturn the results of the 2020 election.
During a question and answer session that followed a formal speech at the University of Iowa, the young man rose to ask Pence “who convinced him to buck President Trump’s plan and certify the votes?”
“James Madison,” Pence said, referring to the fourth president of the United States often considered the ‘father of the Constitution.’
He was met with applause. As reported by USA Today.
Many Trump supporters have turned on Pence after he presided over the Senate’s approval of the 2020 Electoral College vote. Some who attended the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol erected makeshift gallows and chanted “hang Mike Pence” as others flooded the halls of Congress in search of the vice president.
Pence told the crowd in Iowa City Monday that he continues to share concerns about voter integrity, but he stood by his decision in January.
“I understand the disappointment in the election,” he said. “You might remember I was on the ballot. But you’ve got to be willing to do your duty. And the time may come that some of you are in that position, or one like it. And I just have a feeling based on the shining faces I’m seeing around here you’re going to be men and women who do your duty in that time as well.”
Pence thanked the crowd for “the affirmations of support tonight.”
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “It truly does.”
Pence was in Iowa City Monday to speak at an event hosted by the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth organization. It drew roughly 500 people — the bulk of whom appeared to be students.
It is Pence’s second visit to Iowa since he and Trump carried the state but lost the Electoral College in the 2020 election. He last visited in July for a summit hosted by Christian conservative group The Family Leader and a fundraiser for Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, who represents the state’s 4th Congressional District.
Pence joins a parade of other Republicans making early visits to Iowa, which is once again expected to host first-in-the-nation caucuses, kicking off the Republican presidential nominating process in 2024.
The specter of Trump hangs over the entire field of potential candidates, some of whom have said they would not run for president if Trump seeks another term. But it is especially pronounced for Pence, who has tried to claim credit for the policy successes of the Trump administration while managing the fallout of the Jan. 6 attacks.
During his speech Monday, Pence continued to walk that line. He compared Trump favorably to Republican President Ronald Reagan, saying both men are “one of a kind.” He touted the administration’s policies on supporting the military, cutting taxes, rolling back regulations and increasing security at the nation’s southern border.
Trump, who drew several thousand people to his October rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, remains deeply popular among Iowa Republicans.
About a dozen students hoisting signs gathered outside the Iowa Memorial Union where Pence spoke to protest his presence on campus.
“It’s about his connections to Donald Trump, it’s about his social views, it’s about his economic views, it’s about everything,” said Kyle Kopf, a University of Iowa senior who helped organize the protest. “But we mainly don’t want hate and Pence’s hateful views on our campus.”
One person stood to protest during the event, shouting at Pence, but he was quickly escorted out and drowned out by the chants of “USA! USA! USA!”
He made the right decision on January 6th. Regardless, it will be a difficult road for Pence to a Republican nomination!