Trump and Pence hold dueling rallies as rivalry escalates

WASHINGTON: Donald Asset and his ex-winger Mike Underwho have gone from White House partners to bitter rivals, held dueling rallies on Friday in Arizona, where an upcoming Republican primary election offers an early test of their potential showdown in 2024.
The convergence of campaign events came a day after a congressional hearing on the storming of the US Capitol, in which a White House security official said members of Pence’s secret service feared they were dying. as rioters stormed the building.
Trump, who like Pence plans to run for president in 2024, has bullied his former vice president for what he describes as a failure to block certification of the 2020 election results and send the process back to the states. Americans.
Such a plan had been concocted by Trump aides who supported his discredited theory that the election had been stolen, but Pence ultimately decided the action would be illegal.
During the January 6, 2021, uprising, Trump tweeted an attack on Pence, saying he “didn’t have the guts to do what should have been done to protect our country.”
Administration officials said during Thursday’s hearing that the social media post added fuel to the fire and turned rioters against the vice president.
In extraordinary revelations during the hearing, a White House national security official who testified on condition of anonymity said “members of the vice president’s detail at this time were beginning to fear for their own lives.”
Trump’s rally Friday in the central Arizona town of Prescott Valley was part of a series of “Save America” ​​rallies he has held to boost his front-runner candidates ahead of the Republican primary election.
Earlier in July, he hosted an event in Alaska in support of Kelly Tshibaka, a challenger to incumbent state senator Lisa Murkowski, who was one of the few Republicans to vote to impeach Trump after the 6 January 2021.
– ‘Yesterday’s grievances’ – In Arizona, a state he narrowly lost in 2020, Trump campaigned for Kari Lake, a far-right gubernatorial candidate who backs his false claim that the election was stolen.
Lake, a former television news host, first took the stage in the crowded stadium, saying that in Arizona, “We will no longer accept corruption, and I know for a fact we will no longer accept rigged elections. .”
The former president, leaving the crowd to wait for more than two hours, began his speech by focusing on immigration, a major campaign issue in the state which shares a large border with Mexico.
But it didn’t take long before he turned his sights to the 2020 election.
“The election was rigged and stolen and now our country is being systematically destroyed because of it! he shouted, the crowd screaming in response.
Pence made stops in Phoenix and southern Arizona for gubernatorial hopeful Karrin Taylor Robson, a more traditional Republican than Lake who also has the support of the state’s term-limited governor.
With his rivalry with Trump intensifying, Pence has positioned himself as a principled religious conservative. But he refused to attack Trump directly.
In a 20-minute speech to a crowd seated in a warehouse on Friday, he praised political achievements during the “four years of the Trump-Pence administration,” and took only a cursory glance at Lake, criticizing his previous support for Democrats and his initial opposition to Trump.
“Arizona Republicans don’t need a governor who backed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton!” he said.
Later, however, he issued an indirect condemnation of Trump and Lake’s fixation on the 2020 election.
“Democrats would love nothing more than Republicans to take their eyes off the ball and focus on days gone by,” he tweeted.
“If the Republican Party lets itself be eaten away by yesterday’s grievances, we will lose,” he added.
Pence dismissed talk of a possible race in 2024, saying his focus is now on the November 2022 midterm elections.
“Then in 2023 we will look around,” he told National Review last year. “We will go where we are called.”


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