Former Vice President Mike Pence broke with his former running mate after new charges related to the aftermath of the 2020 election were announced. Pence’s comments represent the only Republican 2024 contender with any significant polling traction to directly criticize the former president on the issue.
Pence’s statement came after the Tuesday announcement that Trump would face four charges stemming from the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021 protest.
“Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States,” Pence wrote. “I will have more to say about the government’s case after reviewing the indictment.”
Pence wrote on Twitter that Trump is “entitled to the presumption of innocence but with this indictment, his candidacy means more talk” about Jan. 6.
He also said that Trump’s candidacy “means less attention paid to Joe Biden’s disastrous economic policies afflicting millions across the United States and to the pattern of corruption with Hunter.” Pence also tweeted that the United States is “more important than one man. Our constitution is more important than any one man’s career.”
Pence is prominently included in the indictment, which he cited after its release. He said that Trump “demanded that I choose between him and the Constitution. I chose the Constitution and I always will.”
Today's indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) August 2, 2023
According to the indictment, Pence took notes in the aftermath of the presidential election. In addition, it states that the former president told Pence that he was “too honest” when the vice president opposed rejecting the electoral votes or sending them back to the state legislatures.
Other Republican contenders, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) criticized the former president. However, each has polled consistently under 5% in national polls.
While Pence’s position in the polls has far lagged Trump, he regularly polls in third or fourth place. Currently, Pence ranks at 4.4% on the RealClearPolitics polling average of the 2024 Republican field.