Speed Reads

two roads diverged

Trump and Pence outline separate agendas in D.C. speeches

Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday delivered speeches at separate events in Washington, D.C., in which they laid out their dueling visions for the future of the Republican Party.

Trump, speaking at the America First Policy Institute Summit, delivered an address that focused mainly on law and order. He called for the swift execution of drug dealers, praising similar policies in China and Singapore. Trump also advocated deploying the National Guard to high-crime neighborhoods in Chicago, even over the objections of local authorities. It was only toward the end of the speech that he claimed to have "won a second time" in 2020.

Aside from a few references to critical race theory and defending women's sports, Pence's address laying out his new "Freedom Agenda" at the Young America's Foundation Student Conference could have been delivered in 2012. Main points included cutting taxes, implementing "free-market solutions in healthcare," securing the border, and expanding the military. He also celebrated the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade (1973), an issue entirely absent from Trump's remarks.

The speech was far from a repudiation of Trump, however. The former vice president referred eight times to the "Trump-Pence administration." Trump never mentioned Pence.

During the Q&A session, Pence claimed that he and Trump differ in "focus," not "on issues." Pence added that the GOP must not "give way to the temptation to look back," perhaps making a veiled reference to Trump's stolen election claims.