Former Vice President Mike Pence said he is considering whether he should run for president and sharply criticized Trump over his actions on Jan. 6.
Former Vice President Mike Pence said voters will "have better choices" for a presidential candidate than Donald Trump, who announced his third bid for the office Tuesday night from his Mar-a-Lago resort.
In an interview that aired this week on ABC's "World News Tonight," Pence said that he and his family are giving "prayerful consideration" to whether he, himself, should run and that he thinks voters are looking for less divisiveness in politics.
"I think we’ll have better choices in the future," Pence told ABC's David Muir. "The people of this country actually get along pretty well once you get out of politics, and I think they want to see their national leaders start to reflect that same compassion and generosity of spirit.”
Pence, who is making media appearances as he promotes his memoir, "So Help Me God," made similar comments to other news outlets, including The New York Times and Fox News.
He told Fox News that he has heard people say they want the country to move forward with an administration that will serve as a uniting force, reflecting respect, civility and the nation’s “highest ideals.”
“Donald Trump was the only candidate in 2016 who could’ve defeated Hillary Clinton,” Pence said. “But I think different times call for different leadership.”
Trump's former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, another potential 2024 candidate, seemed to echo Pence's remarks in a tweet Wednesday morning, saying, "We need more seriousness, less noise, and leaders who are looking forward, not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood."
Pompeo told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that Trump's announcement would have no effect on whether he decides to run for president. He added he is likely to make that decision "probably by the spring."
Trump referred to himself Tuesday night as a "victim" while largely rehashing old grievances and conspiracy theories alleging persecution by the FBI and baseless claims of voter fraud.
In the ABC interview, Pence also said Trump’s tweet on Jan. 6, 2021, that he lacked “the courage” to overturn the 2020 election results was “reckless” and that Trump had decided to be “a part of the problem” — some of his harshest comments to date about his former boss's actions during the riot at the Capitol.
Pence is speaking out after months of distancing himself from Trump over his actions on Jan. 6. Asked at a Georgetown University event in October whether he would support Trump if he becomes the GOP nominee for president, Pence said, “Well, there might be somebody else I’d prefer more."
Pence has traveled in recent months to numerous states that hold early presidential contests, criticizing the Biden administration and touting his vision of the future of conservative political leadership.
He appeared to edge closer to confirming plans for a 2024 run at a New Hampshire Institute of Politics “Politics & Eggs” event in August. “I never spent a lot of time in New Hampshire, but I may someday,” he said of the state, which traditionally holds the country’s first presidential primary.