Pence says decision not to endorse Trump is about more than Jan. 6

Former Vice President Mike Pence (R) said Sunday that his decision not to endorse former President Trump’s reelection campaign is as much about Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, as it is about his “walking away” from conservative principles.

“The issue of fealty to the Constitution is not a small matter, but it’s not just that,” Pence told CBS News’s Margaret Brennan in an interview on “Face the Nation.”

“The reason that I cannot in good conscience endorse Donald Trump this year also has to do with the fact that he is walking away. Not just from keeping faith with the Constitution on that day. But also, Margaret, with a commitment to fiscal responsibility, a commitment to the sanctity of life, a commitment to American leadership in the world,” Pence told Brennan.

Pence pointed to Trump’s recent reversal on the issue of a potential TikTok ban.

“I mean, the president’s reversal just last week on TikTok — following an administration where we literally changed the national consensus on China — is the reason why, after a lot of reflection, I just concluded I cannot endorse the agenda that Donald Trump is carrying into this national debate.”

Trump, the presumptive 2024 GOP presidential nominee, went to great lengths in 2020 to stay in office after losing the presidential election. Some of his actions were public, and others allegedly took place in private.

Trump’s campaign to pressure then-Vice President Pence to reject certain states’ slates of electors when carrying out his ceremonial duty to count them played out in the public arena. Pence faced a wave of backlash, and on Jan. 6, 2021, some people in the angry mob outside the Capitol erected a gallows and chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!”

Pence, in the Sunday interview, insisted that he has forgiven Trump for the pressure campaign and for his role in the events that transpired that day, but he still takes seriously his commitment to upholding the Constitution.

“The president and I have profound differences. Many people think it’s just over January 6 — and frankly, the fact that the president continues to insist that I had the right to overturn the election that day is a fundamental difference. But I want to be clear that, you know, I’ve forgiven the president in my heart for what happened that day. As a Christian, I’m required to do that. I’ve prayed for him in that regard,” Pence said.

Pence was pressed more than once on whether he would vote for Trump — even if he’s not endorsing the former president — and Pence would not answer directly.

“I won’t be endorsing Donald Trump this year,” he answered instead.

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