Pence Launches Advocacy Group Combining MAGA, Traditional Conservatism Vice President Mike Pence looks on as President Donald Trump speaks on election night in the East Room of the White House in the early morning hours of November 04, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 07 April 2021 08:13 AM
Former Vice President Mike Pence is re-emerging publicly with the launch of an advocacy group that combines traditional conservativism and the Make America Great Again movement.
Pence, perhaps with an eye on a 2024 presidential run, is chairman of Advancing American Freedom, which will seek to promote the Trump-Pence administration's accomplishments while building a "winning formula for a broader coalition," aides told the Washington Examiner.
Former President Donald Trump expressed support for Pence's venture in a statement to the Examiner.
"It was the most successful first term in American history," Trump said. "Nice to see Mike highlighting some of our many achievements!"
Although the relationship between Trump and Pence cooled when the then vice president refused to reverse the 2020 election result unilaterally during the Electoral College certification, it appears the two men have patched up their differences.
Trump even telephoned Pence recently to offer his congratulations over the birth of the former VP's first grandchild, according to a source familiar with the conversation.
Pence, 61, largely has kept a low profile since leaving office, though he did join the conservative Young America's Foundation, and took on a role as distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
"Advancing American Freedom plans to build on the success of the last four years by promoting traditional conservative values and promoting the successful policies of the Trump administration," Pence said in a statement to the Examiner.
"Conservatives will not stand idly by as the radical left and the new administration attempt to threaten America's standing as the greatest nation in the world with their destructive policies."
AAF’s advisory board includes former Trump White House members Kellyanne Conway and Larry Kudlow, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and actor Kirk Cameron.
"I've worked alongside Mike Pence for 12 years in an official capacity but have known him for decades," said Conway, senior counselor to the president in the Trump White House. "He has the heart of a servant and the mind of a policy wonk and through this issue advocacy group wants to ensure that the promise of America belongs to each and every one of us."
The AAF launch comes at a time the Biden administration struggles to deal with a migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, and with President Joe Biden pitching a $2.25 trillion infrastructure package that calls for raising taxes.
Axios reported Pence's first public post-vice presidency speech is scheduled for April 29 at the Palmetto Family Council’s annual fundraiser in South Carolina, a key early primary state.
Trump has not said whether he plans to run in 2024. Other potential candidates, such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have begun visiting other early primary states.
Pence aides insisted Pence's priorities were next year's midterm election, and developing a policy agenda — not a presidential run.
The former vice president’s supporters said Pence is the right man at the right time to create a platform incorporating the MAGA movement and traditional conservativism.
"There's no doubt when the vice president joined the ticket in 2016, there was a whole new voter that Donald Trump brought in with his focus on China and trade, and he won over a lot of blue-collar votes in the Midwest," a Pence aide said.
"This organization will focus on those winning policies that were at the center of that fusion between traditional conservativism and Trumpism."
AAF, a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization, will be headquartered in Washington, D.C., and will sport programs based on three main tenets:
- American strength and security — immigration, Israel and Middle East peace, and "standing firm against adversaries."
- American prosperity — rebuilding the economy, energy independence, tax cuts, and deregulation.
- American liberty — anti-abortion, school choice, and religious liberty issues.
Paul Teller, who maintained key relationships with conservative groups and lawmakers for then-Vice President Pence, will be AAF's executive director.