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Former Vice President Mike Pence speaksChristians United for Israel in Arlington, Va.
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Christians United for Israel summit in Arlington, Va., on Monday.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images file

Mike Pence ‘not interested in trading insults’ with Trump on the trail

“Some people think that’s the way to win the presidency," Pence continued. "But laying out the choice for the American people, we’ve been doing it."


NORTH CONWAY, N.H. —  A voter confronted former Vice President Mike Pence about his strategy of not going directly after Donald Trump at a town hall Friday, saying he’s “concerned about the fact that we only have one Republican politician who seems to have the nerve,” referencing former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

“I would love to see you be President of the United States,” 77-year-old Tom Loughlin, a registered Independent from Port St. Lucie, Fla., said to Pence as he took questions. “I’m going to give you an honest comment. I don’t believe you ever will be until the day you stand up to that man.”

Pence denied that he hasn’t stood up to Trump, but he defended his strategy of doing so sparingly in public so far.

Pence referenced certifying the election results on Jan. 6, 2021 despite pressure from then-President Trump, and encouraged Loughlin to watch his presidential announcement speech, in which he accused Trump of abandoning conservative principles and said “anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States."

Pence then laid out three areas where he differs from Trump: on America’s position on the world stage, entitlement reforms and the commitment to the anti-abortion movement. But he made it clear that he won’t change the way he speaks about the former president.

“I’m not interested in trading insults with my old friend. I’m not,” Pence said. “Some people think that’s the way to win the presidency. But laying out the choice for the American people, we’ve been doing it. We’ll keep doing it.”

He used the moment to ask for people to donate to his campaign, promising to “talk about the choice” between candidates on the debate stage if he qualifies. The polling threshold won’t be a problem for Pence, but has not yet reached the 40,000 unique donor threshold to make the first debate in August.

National campaign chairman Chip Saltsman said as the campaign progresses, Pence is going to “spend most of his time talking about the future, not the past.”

Loughlin, the Florida resident who does not plan to vote in the Republican primary, says talk of the future should include Trump. 

“I don’t want him to talk about the past. But the future is Donald Trump is running for president of the United States,” Loughlin said.