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Pence said he wants to "bring this country back" by defending the nation and its borders. Alamy Stock Photo
US Election

Mike Pence touts his Irish heritage as he formally launches White House bid

The former United States VP spoke of his Irish roots during his promotional video announcing his campaign.

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT of the United States Mike Pence announced entry into the 2024 US presidential election, challenging former running mate Donald Trump for the party nomination.

Pence published his announcement on Twitter this morning and attributed his knowledge of the “American dream” due to him being a “son of the heartland” and a “grandson of an Irish immigrant”.

The 64-year-old has Irish roots as his grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, hailed from Tubbercurry in Co Sligo. Cawley emigrated to the US in the 1920s.

The evangelical Christian said in his promotional video: “We can turn this country around, but different times cause for different leadership. Today, our party and our country need a leader who will appeal, as Lincoln said, ‘To the better angels of our nature,’.”

Pence honed his reputation as an unstintingly loyal vice president who stuck with Trump throughout each scandal that plagued the White House during their four-year term together.

However, after rejecting the Republican leader’s demands to overturn the 2020 election in his role as president of the Senate, Pence began to be the target of constant beratement by Trump – and even heckled at a conservative conference with chants of “traitor”.

Pence continued to praise the tycoon in public until Trump’s torrent of false claims of election fraud led to a mob chanting for Pence to be hanged at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

During the video, Pence faults current president Joe Biden for the country being “crushed by runaway inflation” and labels Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as the “enemies of freedom”.

Pence said he wants to “bring this country back” by defending the nation and its borders, reviving the economy and “defend our liberties”.

The former VP last visited Ireland in January 2020, after he greeted US soliders stationed in Shannon Airport in Co Clare, however the ex-VP has visited many times since the early 1980s.

Pence announced his presidential run a day after former New Jersey governor Chris Christie joined the contest. Yesterday it was anticipated the former VP would announce his campaign with the video and an event in Des Moines in Iowa.

Former governors Nikki Haley and Asa Hutchinson are also in the race, while North Dakota’s chief executive Doug Burgum is also due to announce on Wednesday.

Polls show Trump as the overwhelming early front runner, regularly posting leads on DeSantis in excess of 30 points. None of the other candidates are achieving double figures.

Additional Reporting from © AFP 2023 and Press Association

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