Mike Pence: Donald Trump has been 'walking away' from conservative principles

“Donald Trump’s position on the national debt is identical to Joe Biden’s,” the former vice president said in an interview with NBC News.


Former Vice President Mike Pence criticized former President Donald Trump's position on abortion and the national debt Friday, accusing his old boss of drifting away from conservative principles.

"Look, in 2016, Donald Trump promised to govern as a conservative," Pence said in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd to air in full Sunday on “Meet the Press.” "But he makes no such promise today. Not only has he been walking away from a clear commitment to the right to life, but, look, we have a national debt the size of our nation’s economy.

"Donald Trump’s position on the national debt is identical to Joe Biden’s," he said. "And to me the Republican Party has to be the party of growth and fiscal responsibility and reform."

The party needs to be "straight with the American people about the magnitude of this national debt," Pence added.

Watch “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET or check local listings.

Trump, the leading candidate for the 2024 GOP nomination, took credit for the elimination of Roe v. Wade last year, embracing his role in nominating the conservative Supreme Court justices who ended the constitutional right to abortion.

In response to Pence's remarks, a Trump spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday that the former president is “proud of the historic accomplishments of his first term,” which includes "remaking the federal judiciary and appointing three Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe."

But in recent months, Trump has drawn ire from anti-abortion advocates for refusing to back a federal abortion ban and suggesting that Florida's six-week ban is "too harsh" in a jab against Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Trump has said that he believes the issue of abortion should be decided at the state level and that it's important to have exceptions to abortion restrictions.

In the early race for the White House, Pence and DeSantis have been emphasizing their policy disagreements with Trump as they jockey for the position behind the former president's front-runner status.

Pence, who has launched sharp attacks against his former boss, had previously accused Trump of having the same fiscal policy position as Biden, which he characterized as too heavy on spending.

In his speech kicking off his bid for the GOP nomination this month, the former vice president also attacked Trump over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as he explained why he will run against the guy that he staunchly served for years.