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Eyes on 2024: Pence takes on Trump
Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump at Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Fla.Saul Martinez / Getty Images file

Eyes on 2024: Pence takes on Trump

"I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable," Pence said on Saturday during remarks at the annual Gridiron Dinner.

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Over the weekend, former Vice President Mike Pence issued the most pointed criticism of Trump yet from potential GOP presidential candidates, focused on Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021.

“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said on Saturday during remarks at the annual Gridiron Dinner attended by politicians and journalists. “I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”

Pence has so far tried to walk a fine line between praising the Trump administration’s policies — which he refers to as the “Trump-Pence administration” — and making veiled references to Trump by saying Americans want a return to “civility.” Back in November, Pence declined to say on “Meet the Press” whether Trump committed a crime by pressuring Pence to overturn the 2020 election results, saying, “I don’t know if it is criminal to listen to bad advice from lawyers.”

Now, though, Pence is nearing a decision on whether he will take on Trump for the GOP nomination next year. He recently told NBC News’ Ali Vitali that he plans to make a decision “by the spring.” 

In other campaign news: 

A rising star: Hundreds of Iowans turned out to see Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speak over the weekend as he traveled across the state to promote his book, NBC News’ Jon Allen and Natasha Korecki report. And now, DeSantis is heading to New Hampshire, while former Trump allies like former Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta publicly throw their support behind him.

Trump talk: Trump’s legal woes continued to cast a shadow over his re-election run. He was expected to huddle with his legal team over the weekend to discuss the investigation into hush money payments to an adult film star who claimed she slept with Trump.

Veepstakes: Democratic leaders are urging Democrats to stop criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris, per CNN. In one instance, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has tried to apologize for dodging a question in a local news interview about whether Harris should continue to serve as Biden’s running mate. 

Biden’s moves: The Washington Post details how Biden’s latest moves on crime and immigration foreshadow a re-election run to come, but have also angered some liberal members of his party. 

Primary moves: Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow tells Politico about her role in clearing the field for Rep. Elissa Slotkin to run for her Senate seat in 2024. 

Targeted: The National Republican Congressional Committee released its initial 37 targets for 2024, including 35 incumbents and two open seats held by Democratic lawmakers running for Senate, per Politico. The announcement comes as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced its Frontline Program members, which includes Democratic lawmakers facing tough re-election battles.  

Mapmaker, mapmaker draw me a map: The redistricting process isn’t over yet, with lawsuits filed in 14 states challenging the congressional lines, per the New York Times. Amid the looming legal battles, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee is shaking up its leadership. 

Another one: The Colorado Republican Party chose Dave Williams, an election-denying former state lawmaker as its next chairman.