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Pence fuels 2024 rumors with speech at Christian college but Mark Meadows ‘counts’ on Trump running

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Early indications show the 2024 presidential election cycle could see a dramatic face-off between former President Donald Trump and his ex-deputy Mike Pence. 

The former vice president fueled speculation that he’s launching a White House bid in 2024 on Thursday when he delivered a speech championing ‘educational freedom’ at a small conservative college in Loudoun County, Virginia

Trump remains a polarizing but dominant figure in Republican politics. A recent Morning Consult poll shows that a majority of GOP voters – 67 percent – want him to run for a second term. 

But among those who rejected the ex-president, Pence is a leading favorite, followed closely by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. 

Trump has publicly toyed with the idea of running but hasn’t made a formal announcement. But his ex-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows dropped a new hint when he said on SiriusXM’s The Wilkow Majority: ‘If I were a betting, man … I would tell you to loan me all your money. I would put all my money in, and I would bet that he’s running again. 

‘He’s in, and we will count on him running.’ 

Meadows, who was considered one of Trump’s closest allies in office, said he is talking to the businessman multiple times a week  

The former president has repeatedly claimed at rallies of late that he has to wait until after the 2022 midterm election to announce due to ‘campaign finance laws.’ 

Donald Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows says he is willing to put 'all his money' on the former president making another bid for the White House

Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows says he is willing to put ‘all his money’ on the former president making another bid for the White House

He is now investing his energy into his new social media venture Truth Social which has got off to a rocky start after shares tumbled.  

Pence has largely ramped up his own public appearances, but has stayed away from criticizing his former boss. 

During his 25-minute campaign-style remarks at Patrick Henry College, Pence lambasted critical race theory and education officials who he claimed ‘put political interests ahead of the interests of our kids’ and railed against ‘radical left-wing ideologies.’

He also touted the Trump administration’s educational policies including the 1776 commission, which was shut down by the Biden administration. 

‘Critical race theory is founded on the slander that America is a racist nation,’ he said. ‘America is the most just, righteous, and inclusive nation the world has ever known.’

Pence also said, ‘children as young as kindergarten are being taught to be ashamed of their skin color’ and science, history and even math are increasingly be taught through the lens of racial grievance.’  

Mike Pence’s appearance at Patrick Henry College is one of many he’s been making across the country that have fueled 2024 rumors

He criticized Virginia’s majority-Democrat leaders for making school remote during the coronavirus pandemic but added a ‘silver lining’ was that parents were able to ‘peek into their child’s virtual classroom.’

‘As a result, millions of parents – just like you all here in Loudoun County – are rightly concerned that in many of our schools, the primary mission of public schools is no longer to educate America’s youth,’ Pence said. ‘But in many cases to indoctrinate our youth into radical left-wing ideology. 

Pence said a ‘patriotic education is essential to the survival of liberty’ but didn’t elaborate on what that was. 

He was welcomed by a warm crowd of roughly 300 people, according to Insider. 

To mark his arrival the school’s paper, The Herald, printed its cover to feature a Trump campaign button with the ex-president’s name scribbled out and replaced with ‘Pence 2024?’

Pence’s visit to the private Christian school came less than a week before Virginia voters head to the polls to put an end to a tight governor’s race that’s widely being seen as a referendum on Joe Biden’s administration.

Youngkin has largely shunned national Republican figures during his campaign but is accepting some last-minute help from Trump. The ex-president is calling in to a pro-Youngkin telerally on Monday, the day before Election Day. 

While Pence’s event wasn’t linked to Youngkin, his speech focused on educational issues that have become a lightning rod across the US, particularly in Virginia’s Loudoun County.

Biden’s Justice Department brought down right-wing ire when it released a memo directing the FBI to work with local law enforcement and investigate a ‘disturbing trend’ of violent incidents at school settings. 

Patrick Henry College’s newspaper The Herald printed this cover in time for the Pence event

It was spurred by a letter from the National School Boards Association that appeared to compare the angry parents to ‘domestic terrorists,’ though the group has since walked that back.  

The normally apolitical stage of education has become an ideological battleground with parents angered over critical race theory and mask mandates. 

Critical race theory is a decades-old academic concept, more commonly explored in law school rather than grades K-12, that states the US justice system, health care and other institutions are inherently racist. 

But Republicans have claimed the term teaches students to hate each other based on skin color.

On Thursday Pence called it ‘nothing more than state-sponsored racism’ that should ‘be opposed by every American of every race, color or creed in every school in the land.’

He also went after the Biden DOJ over its memo and called for education reform to be debated at the local level.

Pence got a warm reception from his crowd of approximately 300 people on Thursday

Pence got a warm reception from his crowd of approximately 300 people on Thursday

His remarks were permeated by applause and enthusiastic reactions, and the crowd was all smiles when he spoke with people after the address

His remarks were permeated by applause and enthusiastic reactions, and the crowd was all smiles when he spoke with people after the address

‘Let me be clear on this point: The federal government has no business investigating parents who speak out at school board meetings. Attorney General Garland should tear up his memo,’ Pence said. 

The former vice president also went after Barack Obama for dismissing ‘fake outrage’ and ‘phony trumped-up culture wars’ when he was campaigning for former Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe’s re-election bid.

‘Outrage isn’t fake, it’s real,’ Pence said. ‘And it’s grounded in love for this country and their kids.’ 

The public school ideological fight has been especially divisive in Loudoun County. 

A father was arrested at a June school board event there when he grew upset at the county superintendent claiming ‘we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.’ 

A recent Morning Consult poll found that Trump was still widely favored to run in 2024, but Pence ranks high among Republican alternatives

A recent Morning Consult poll found that Trump was still widely favored to run in 2024, but Pence ranks high among Republican alternatives

He said later he was trying to tell them that his teenage daughter had been raped by a ‘boy in a skirt’ in a girls’ high school bathroom. A 15-year-old Virginia boy was found guilty of sexual assault in a case stemming from that incident.

But Pence positioned himself loud and clear on what’s likely to be a hot-button issue in the upcoming 2022 midterm cycle.  

He marketed his appearance at Patrick Henry College as a series of speaking engagements that are fueling 2024 rumors. 

On Monday Pence will return to Iowa, a must-stop location for any presidential hopefuls, to speak at the University of Iowa. 

He’s also been attending fundraising dinners for the Republican Party, including a June event in New Hampshire – another popular state if one is gearing up a White House bid.  



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