This was unexpected.
Former President Donald Trump, in response to recent endorsements from two Republican presidential primary dropouts, called on his former Vice President Mike Pence to join them, labeling Pence as “disloyal.” Speaking at a rally in Las Vegas, Trump highlighted the trend of those leaving the race endorsing him, such as Perry Johnson and Larry Elder, who officially ended their GOP primary campaigns and endorsed Trump.
According to Newsmax, on the same day, Pence announced his exit from the Republican Jewish Coalition conference but refrained from endorsing his former boss, with whom he had clashed since leaving office in January 2021. Trump urged Pence to endorse him, emphasizing his own successful presidency and Pence’s role as vice president.
Trump expressed frustration with past primary challengers who accepted his endorsement but later ran against him, including Pence, who had initially supported Trump in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections but was now running against him.
During his own announcement of suspending his cash-strapped presidential campaign, Pence refrained from endorsing any candidate but suggested the need for a Republican standard bearer who appeals to the nation’s better nature with civility.
It remains uncertain whether Pence will endorse Trump, as sources close to him did not provide a clear indication of his plans. A spokesperson for Pence had not responded to inquiries about his endorsement intentions.
In the meantime, Trump continued his campaign efforts, planning an event in Iowa and maintaining an accelerated fall schedule leading up to the first-in-the-nation caucuses in January. Trump’s campaign events have drawn large crowds, aiming to demonstrate his dominance in the early states. He expressed confidence in winning Iowa despite deviating from the typical strategy of lowering expectations. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another contender in the 2024 race, criticized Trump for avoiding Republican presidential debates and focusing on large-scale campaigning.