Pence’s January 6 Defense

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to guests during a campaign event on July 6, 2023 in Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Happy Friday! On Wednesday Robert F. Kennedy Jr. tweeted several photos of his supporters at July Fourth parades and thanked them for marching on his behalf. Problem is, one of the pictures is of fellow Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson wearing an “MW 2024” pin. She quickly tweeted back that “I was there with the Marianne Williamson campaign, Bobby:)” and Kennedy responded, “I’m sorry we missed each other Marianne. Please stay strong!” Isn’t it just great to see candidates getting along?

Up to Speed

  • The Secret Service is investigating the origins of a bag containing cocaine found in the White House over the weekend, a spokesman said Thursday. NBC News reported Thursday that the illicit substance was found “in a cubby near the White House’s West Executive entrance, not the formal West Wing lobby, as was previously reported.”
  • Second-quarter campaign filings are due to the Federal Election Commission by July 15, but some campaigns are already publicizing their fundraising numbers. Former President Donald Trump’s joint fundraising campaign reportedly raised more than $35 million in the second quarter, nearly doubling his first quarter haul. Perennial polling runner-up Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raised $20 million during the same period after announcing in mid-May, according to his campaign. 
  • President Joe Biden touted his economic strategy before a crowd of supporters on Thursday in South Carolina, an early state on the presidential nominating calendar that was crucial to his 2020 Democratic primary bid. The unemployment rate has “been below 4 percent for the longest time in 50 years,” Biden said. “Inflation is less than half of what it was a year ago, and we’re continuing to work on it.” 
  • Former Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones announced his candidacy for Congress in New York’s 17th Congressional District—a seat currently held by freshman GOP Rep. Mike Lawler. Jones joins a Democratic primary featuring Liz Whitmer Gereghty, the sister of Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
  • In a court hearing that lasted only minutes, Trump aide Walt Nauta pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that he conspired with the former president to withhold and hide sensitive government documents at the billionaire’s Palm Beach home. 
  • North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan is considering challenging North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein for the Tarheel State’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2024, telling the News & Observer that “I feel inclined to respect the calls that I’m getting.”
  • Retired Army Capt. Sam Brown is planning to challenge Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada in 2024, NBC News reports. Brown unsuccessfully sought the Republican Senate nomination in Nevada last cycle.

On the Trail, Pence Defends Himself on January 6

SIOUX CITY, Iowa—Mike Pence knows voters will forever associate him with January 6, 2021— some for good reasons and some for bad. Yet as the former vice president made clear to The Dispatch, he isn’t writing off Republicans who think he failed to do his duty.

“If it wasn’t for your vote, we would not have Joe Biden in the White House,” says a woman Wednesday evening at a packed Pizza Ranch buffet in Sioux City. “Joe Biden shouldn’t be there, and all those wonderful things that you and Trump were doing together would be continuing, and this country would be on the right path. Do you ever second-guess yourself? That was a constitutional right that you had to send those votes back to the states.”

The comment elicits one or two nods of agreement from fellow attendees of the meet-and-greet—most notably from a man wearing a “Trump 2024” cowboy hat. But the others focus on Pence’s answer, which he delivers with the calm patience of someone who has responded to such questions many times before.

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