Pence launches political advocacy group with an eye to the Trump legacy -- and his own future

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday announced the launch of a new political advocacy group, "Advancing American Freedom," a move designed with an eye to his political future and his efforts to help shape the conversation around the Trump administration's legacy.

Posted: Apr 7, 2021 1:46 PM

(CNN) -- Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday announced the launch of a new political advocacy group, "Advancing American Freedom," a move designed with an eye to his political future and his efforts to help shape the conversation around the Trump administration's legacy.

The group's stated goal is to "promote the pro-freedom policies of the last four years that created unprecedented prosperity at home and restored respect for America abroad, to defend those policies from liberal attacks and media distortions, and to prevent the radical Left from enacting its policy agenda that would threaten America's freedoms," according to a statement from the group.

Pence, who is widely reported to have presidential ambitions, has largely remained below the radar since leaving office in January after the last tumultuous month of the Trump administration.

He penned an op-ed for the conservative publication The Daily Signal in March decrying a sweeping, Democratic-led voting rights bill that was later passed by the House but faces an uncertain path forward in the Senate. In the op-ed, Pence expressed concern about "the integrity of the 2020 election," citing "significant" and "troubling" voting irregularities. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have changed the outcome of the 2020 election, and Pence did not make any specific claims in his op-ed. Rather, the former vice president continued to promote the misinformation pushed by former President Donald Trump that led Trump supporters to storm the US Capitol as Pence joined the Senate to certify the election's results.

Pence is set to return to the speaking circuit with his first public appearance later this month in the early primary state of South Carolina, delivering remarks to the conservative "Palmetto Family" group at its annual gala in Columbia on April 29.

The former vice president is expected to continue paid speaking engagements going forward. Worldwide Speakers Group announced last month that Pence was available for speech bookings, where, per the group, he "plans to address leadership; policymaking; and faith, values, and service."

With speculation that Pence could mount a presidential bid in 2024, the question remains whether Trump will consider running again himself. While the specter of another Trump run would freeze the 2024 Republican presidential field, Pence advisers say he could benefit. Unlike some other potential candidates, Pence does not need to get people familiar with his name nor would he need much time to put together a political operation.

In the meantime, the creation of Advancing American Freedom will give Pence a vehicle to stay involved in the Republican political conversation as the midterm elections approach.

The Wednesday announcement of the group included a lengthy list of allies and former administration officials, including his longtime pollster and Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, former US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, Newt and Callista Gingrich, who served as US Ambassador to the Holy See, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow, former US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, former Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services Administrator Seema Verma, former Office of Management and Budget director Russ Vought, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, actor Kirk Cameron, and others.

The statement also said that the group, which is based in Indianapolis, will target Biden-Harris policy: "Advancing American Freedom will oppose the expansion of government under Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' radical Left policy agenda from Washington, D.C., into communities across the country."

It comes as top Trump aide Stephen Miller has also launched a new legal advocacy group, America First Legal, which he described in an interview with the Wall Street Journal as "a conservative answer to the ACLU."

Trump personally praised Miller in a statement Wednesday, encouraging "all America First patriots (to) get behind America First Legal."

The-CNN-Wire
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