Election 2024

Mike Pence attacks LGBTQ+ rights in video announcing his presidential campaign

Mike Pence on NewsNation
Mike Pence on NewsNation Photo: Screenshot

Mike Pence announced his 2024 presidential campaign today — after filing the official paperwork earlier this week — with a video that attacks LGBTQ+ people.

“President Joe Biden and the radical left have weakened America at home and abroad,” Pence says in the voiceover to his announcement video. “Timeless American values are under assault as never before.”

While he’s speaking, images of LGBTQ+ people are shown with the following sentences display on the screen: “Controversy over trans female swimmer” and “Drag queens storm faith-based story hour in AR (Arkansas).”

The lines referred to trans collegiate swimming champion Lea Thomas, and to a March incident in which protesters from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence interrupted anti-LGBTQ+ activist Kirk Cameron from reading his transphobic children’s book, Elephants Are Not Birds, to kids at a public library.

“We’re better than his,” Pence says.

“God is not done with America yet, and together we can bring this country back,” he continues. “And the best days of the greatest nation on Earth are yet to come.”

Pence is currently getting around 4% support in polls, well behind Donald Trump’s 53% and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s 22%. Even former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is polling better than Pence.

Commentators have already remarked that Pence’s announcement video makes little mention of his time as vice president, even though that’s his most relevant work experience for the job of president.

Now, Pence has to walk a fine line since he is running against his former boss, Donald Trump. If he’s too critical, he risks alienating Trump’s large voter base and attracting personal attacks from Trump himself. If he’s too complimentary, voters may start preferring Trump over him.

Pence’s video is another sign that the 2024 presidential election will be more transphobic than previous presidential elections. Both Trump and DeSantis are using their records attacking transgender rights to court voters, and Haley is accusing transgender students of making cisgender girls suicidal.

Pence, who has attacked LGBTQ+ rights throughout his career, perhaps more than any of the other candidates in the Republican primary, is likely to use that record to make the argument that he should get the GOP nod.

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