Home U.S. News In the Shadow of More Fiery Rivals, Pence Leans Into Civility Politics

In the Shadow of More Fiery Rivals, Pence Leans Into Civility Politics

In the Shadow of More Fiery Rivals, Pence Leans Into Civility Politics

Looking to contrast himself with former President Donald J. Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida — leading rivals in the race for the Republican nomination who converged on Iowa on Saturday — former Vice President Mike Pence made a play for civility politics during a round table with about two dozen Christian college and university presidents.

When Mr. Pence arrived at the event in Ankeny, Iowa, Mary Jo Brown, 67, told the former vice president that he was “a man of integrity.”

A former teacher at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, a private Christian school, Ms. Brown said in an interview that Mr. Pence’s faith had guided his decision-making on Jan. 6 and that she would support him “if he can get through.”

Mr. Pence is polling at a distant sixth place in Iowa, according to a recent New York Times/Siena College poll, far behind contenders like Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis, who are commanding attention in Iowa this weekend with their brasher style of politicking.

Since the latest indictment against Mr. Trump came down, which revealed that Mr. Pence had provided prosecutors with “contemporaneous notes” regarding the former president’s efforts to reverse his 2020 loss, Mr. Pence has been emphasizing his loyalty to the Constitution — and invoking his faith as he tries to win the support of the evangelical voters he is counting on to propel him in the 2024 primary.

But polling shows that Mr. Pence has the same 3 percent support among white evangelicals in Iowa that he has among the larger field of Republican caucusgoers.On Saturday, Mr. Pence cast himself as a key figure in the appointment of three conservatives to the Supreme Court by Mr. Trump, telling the Christian education leaders that he had interviewed each justice — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — as vice president.

“You can have confidence that we have a pro-religious majority on the Supreme Court,” he said.

Mr. Pence also shared an anecdote at the event about being invited in 2010 to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., by his then-House colleague John Lewis to commemorate Bloody Sunday.

Noting their political differences, he called the civil rights leader, who died in July 2020, a “great man” and said that they had a mutual respect for each other as men of faith. That’s a stark contrast from how Mr. Trump played down Mr. Lewis’s accomplishments after his death.

“He didn’t come to my inauguration,” Mr. Trump said at the time.

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