Mike Pence Delivers Strong Rebuke of Trump at Gridiron Club Dinner

At the annual Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, former Vice President Mike Pence offered his strongest rebuke yet of Donald Trump, the man he served under for four years and who is now his potential rival in the 2024 presidential race.

Speaking at the white-tie event, attended by high-profile Beltway figures including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Pence held Trump accountable for the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021. “Make no mistake about it, what happened that day was a disgrace, and it mocks decency to portray it in any other way,” he said.[0]

In the lead up to the violence, Trump and other election deniers had called on Pence to reject key states and refuse Joe Biden the electoral votes he needed to clinch the victory, but the former vice president refused.[1] Trump's pressure campaign sparked a feud between the two men, with Trump publicly criticizing Pence's refusal and some Trump supporters at the Capitol chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”

Pence also addressed the classified documents found at Trump's Florida estate and took a jab at the former president: “I read that some of those classified documents they found at Mar-a-Lago were actually stuck in the president’s Bible. Which proves he had absolutely no idea they were there.”[0]

The former vice president also hinted at his own White House ambitions for 2024, saying, “I will wholeheartedly, unreservedly support the Republican nominee for president in 2024… if it’s me.”[2]

Blinken also made a few jokes at the dinner, including one about CNN’s ratings and a jab at Pence’s 2024 prospects: “According to the guest list, there are 600 attendees here tonight. CNN would kill for an audience like that.”[3] He added, “The vice president and I have one thing in common: Neither of us will ever be president.[4]

0. “Mike Pence Predicts Trump Will Be Held Accountable” Newsweek, 12 Mar. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/mike-pence-predicts-trump-will-held-accountable-1787155

1. “Pence says Trump was ‘wrong' about Jan. 6 and that history will hold him accountable” WBUR News, 12 Mar. 2023, https://www.wbur.org/npr/1162923482/pence-trump-january-6-gridiron-dinner

2. ““History Will Hold Donald Trump Accountable,” Pence Says” Vanity Fair, 12 Mar. 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/03/history-will-hold-donald-trump-accountable-pence-says

3. “Playbook: Pence goes where no 2024 contender has gone before” POLITICO, 12 Mar. 2023, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2023/03/12/pence-goes-where-no-2024-contender-has-gone-before-00086675

4. “Mike Pence Condemns Tucker Carlson’s Portrayal Of January 6th, Says History “Will Hold Donald Trump Accountable” For That Day” Yahoo Entertainment, 12 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/mike-pence-condemns-tucker-carlson-035648554.html