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Pence heckled with calls of 'traitor' at conservative conference

The Hill logo The Hill 6/18/2021 Tal Axelrod
Mike Pence wearing a suit and tie: Pence heckled with calls of 'traitor' at conservative conference © The Hill Pence heckled with calls of 'traitor' at conservative conference

Former Vice President Mike Pence was heckled with calls of "traitor" at a conservative conference Friday as he continues to draw criticism from members of the Republican base for his role in Congress's certification of President Biden's Electoral College victory.

"It is great to be back with so many patriots dedicated to faith and freedom and the road to the majority," Pence said to applause at the Faith & Freedom Coalition summit before the heckling began.

"I'm a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order," Pence continued, as the hecklers in the audience began to grow louder, yelling "traitor."

Some of the hecklers were reportedly removed from the event as Pence went on with his speech.

The incident lays bare the divisions that remain in the GOP over the 2020 presidential election.


Video: Pence called ‘traitor’ by hecklers at conservative Florida conference (NBC News)

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Former President Trump and his allies amplified calls after Biden's victory in November that widespread fraud marred the race. No evidence has been presented to give credibility to those claims.

Those remarks played a role in inciting the insurrection on Jan. 6, during which people attending a pro-Trump rally stormed the Capitol in a failed attempt to halt Congress's certification of the election results. Pence, who was overseeing the proceedings as vice president, was rushed to safety as some in the crowd called for his execution.

Since then, Pence has become the target of Trump's supporters for his role in the Electoral College certification, something the former vice president himself acknowledged in a speech in New Hampshire earlier this month.

"You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office," Pence said. "And I don't know if we'll ever see eye to eye on that day. But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years."

The animosity toward Pence among some in the GOP grassroots could also pose an electoral obstacle for Pence, who is broadly believed to be mulling a White House campaign of his own in 2024.

Pence would be entering a crowded field in 2024, should Trump not make a comeback bid himself, and could find himself running in a primary with lawmakers who objected to certifying the election results in January like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

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