By clearing what is obviously a very low bar — taking a stand against an effort to undermine our democracy — Pence benefits from looking and sounding like a credible politician who might just rescue the GOP from the former president’s control. But Pence also tried the classic politician’s two-step and followed up his veiled criticism of Trump by lauding him as the best conservative president in modern history. Pence, who went on to employ some of his former boss’ scare tactics during the speech, could end up being a more polished iteration of Trump by employing the same dangerous talking points, but with the air of a dignified statesman.
By diverging from Trump on the January 6th attack, Pence produced a handy sound bite to reassure those who were appalled. But anyone who paid close attention to the rest of Pence’s speech would have picked up on his attempt to lay claim to the Trumpiest in the GOP. He suggested that Trump was a more consequential conservative than Ronald Reagan. “Under President Trump’s leadership we were able to achieve things Republicans have been talking about since the days of Barry Goldwater,” said Pence.
“Critical race theory teaches children as young as kindergarten to be ashamed of their skin color,” said Pence during his speech. “It represents a full-throated assault aimed at the heart of the American experiment.”