Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday slammed former President Donald Trump, his one-time running mate, for skipping the second Republican National Committee primary debate to give a prime-time speech to the striking United Auto Workers in Detroit next week.
“I think it’s a missed opportunity for Donald Trump, and I think it’s a missed opportunity for Republican voters,” Pence told CBS News. “This country is in a lot of trouble. Joe Biden has weakened America at home and abroad, and I think the former president, just like all the rest of us vying for the Republican nomination, owes it to the American people to express what our agenda will be for turning this country around.”
Trump also skipped the first debate last month, choosing to release a competing interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson on social media platform X.
Pence also told CBS News that Trump is no longer running for office as a conservative.
“When we ran in 2016, Donald Trump promised to govern as a conservative, and we did govern as conservatives, but he makes no such promise today,” he said. “As we discussed on the world stage, we hear increasingly Donald Trump and some of his imitators are talking about walking away from America’s role as the leader of the free world.”
Next week’s debate is being held Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is also seeking the GOP presidential nomination, criticized Trump for skipping another debate.
Trump remains the clear front-runner in the GOP primary race, with a RealClearPolitics poll average of 58.8%, several points ahead of Pence at 4.1% and Christie with 2.3%. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is Trump’s nearest challenger, polling at 12.5%.
“We’ve got Joe Biden, who campaigned all these years ago in a basement,” Christie told Fox News on Tuesday. “We now have Donald Trump, who’s hiding behind the walls of his golf clubs and only going into very controlled circumstances where he doesn’t get to be asked questions by voters.”
Christie also said Trump’s decision is “incredibly disrespectful to voters.”
“They have a right to hear from him about his record when he was president, about what his plans are if he were to be the nominee again, and he just is ignoring it,” said Christie. “It’s disrespectful for him not to, and, quite frankly, it’s cowardly.”
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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