Former Vice President Mike Pence, in a speech during Sen. Joni Ernst's annual "Roast and Ride" fundraiser in Des Moines, Iowa, called on Republicans to avoid the "siren song of populism" in the upcoming 2024 presidential race, days before his expected announcement that he's jumping into the race.
"I believe we have to resist the politics of personality and the siren song of populism unmoored to timeless conservative principles, and we need to stand firm on the conservative agenda of life and liberty and a commitment to freedom that has always led us to victory," Pence told the crowd at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, reports The Hill.
His comments were a likely reference to his former boss, former President Donald Trump, who's ahead by a large margin in the run-up to the primary election.
Pence also called on Republicans to offer a positive vision "grounded in conservative principles" while being willing to "speak hard truths."
Pence earlier on Saturday told Newsmax that while he wasn't yet making his announcement official concerning his race, he said his "decision" will be announced Wednesday. He said that despite his deep ties with Indiana, where he was governor and represented the Hoosier State in the U.S. House of Representatives, he chose Iowa for his announcement because of the "outsized role" the state has played for years in "shaping our national leadership."
Pence's announcement is coming in a televised event in Iowa that's been billed by CNN as a "Presidential Town Hall," even though Pence hadn't made his declaration for the 2024 race official.
The town hall is being held on the former vice president's 64th birthday. He's also canceled a planned appearance on June 9 at the Georgia GOP convention, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"I'm here in Iowa today and I'll be back a little bit later next week," Pence told the audience at the "Roast and Ride" barbecue, which also welcomed several other GOP presidential hopefuls to speak. Trump did not attend the event.
In recent months, Pence has said he thinks Republicans can have a better choice than Trump for the party's nomination; and on Saturday, he emphasized that accomplishments from the administration were part of his record as well.
He said the administration cut taxes and regulations, rebuilt the military, worked to secure the border, and successfully appointed three justices to the Supreme Court, with their votes being key in overturning the Roe v. Wade decision on abortion.
Pence also stressed that the country has become weaker under President Joe Biden, and told the audience that the answer to that is the return of "strong, conservative Republican leadership back in the White House."
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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