Mike Pence tells Utah leaders ‘great American comeback’ is on the way

Apr 28, 2023, 6:30 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — There was no formal announcement of a presidential run, but certainly lots of hints as former Vice President Mike Pence met with a group of mostly republican local political leaders and the business community Friday. They were invited to hear him speak at the private event in downtown Salt Lake City.

A great American comeback

 The former vice president delivered a message that he wants to return the country to being led at the state level.

“I truly believe we are 18 months away from a great American comeback. And it will start right here in the great state of Utah,” he said to applause. 

Former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, through his Herbert Institute for Public Policy, led the sit down with Pence. He asked several questions centering on Pence’s leadership if he were to be the president. His questions included everything from how to fix the national debt, to immigration, to attracting more young Republicans, and how to restore civility.

“I know that with the right leadership at the national level at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue with the right leadership in state houses around the country the best days for the greatest nation on earth are yet to come,” Pence started his remarks. “We just have to return to right principals in America.”  

He took aim at several of President Biden’s policies that he argues have “weakened America,” including the withdrawal from Afghanistan, policies on the boarder, a “gusher” of spending that launched inflation, a crime wave in major cities, and a war on energy he says have driven up prices.

“I’m here to tell you, hope is on the way,” he proclaimed.

Mike Pence and a grand jury

Near the end of the hour-long Q and A session, Pence touched on the elephant in the room, the questioning that he was part of just a day earlier in front of a grand jury in New York over former President Donald Trump’s involvement in overturning the 2020 election — and what he knew of Trump’s thinking. 

“I’m very limited to speak about grand jury deliberations,” he said to the group. “If people are curious about what I might say, you can look at the interviews I’ve done over the last six months. And you can read the pages of that book because it’s the truth.” 

Echoing his message

After the luncheon, in the only two interviews he did after his remarks with KSL NewsRadio’s Boyd Matheson, Pence echoed that message.

“People can be confident that anything we would have said would be just what we wrote in my memoir. And what I’ve said in countless interviews.”

Then, in an interview that will air on KSL TV, he said it again. 

“The story that I have told the days leading up to Jan 6, the story that I wrote in my book is the story we would tell in every setting.” 

In all three settings he went on to describe January 6th as a tragedy that turned to a triumph of freedom.

“Because our institutions held,” he said at the luncheon. “And by God’s grace, I’ll always believe that we did our duty under the Constitution of the United States.”

The crowd gave that a standing ovation.

Alejandro Lucero contributed to this article.

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Mike Pence tells Utah leaders ‘great American comeback’ is on the way