Former Vice President Mike Pence said that he’s done explaining for his ex-running mate after being pressed on former President Donald Trump‘s recent comments toward retired U.S. Army General Mike Milley.
During an appearance on CNN Friday night, anchor Kaitlan Collins asked the former vice president if he believed Milley was referring to Trump in his retirement speech earlier in the day, during which the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “We don’t take an oath to a king or a queen or to a tyrant or a dictator. And we don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator.”
The comment seemed to be in response to the recent attacks directed at Milley by Trump, who suggested in a post on Truth Social last week that the general would have been executed for “treason” in “times gone by.”
“Kaitlan, I don’t know who he was referring to there, but I must tell you that Donald Trump’s recent comments regarding General Milley were inexcusable,” Pence said Friday. “When you think of General Milley’s incredible years of service in the uniform of the United States, to make the kind of statements the former president made are just unacceptable.”
Collins continued to press Pence, including asking him if he believed Trump was a “wannabe dictator,” while pointing out Trump’s response to Milley’s comments Friday evening in which he called Milley “slow moving and thinking.” Pence was also asked his opinion on Trump’s repeated threats toward his political adversaries and the prosecutors behind his numerous criminal indictments.
“Do you believe that he is a threat if he returns to the Oval Office?” Collins posed to the ex-vice president.
“You know, I spent four years trying to explain Donald Trump’s words, and I’m out of that business now, Kaitlan,” Pence replied.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s campaign team Friday night via email for comment.
Pence has previously said that he and Trump went their “separate ways” following the January 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, during which the ex-president put immense pressure on Pence to interrupt Congress‘ election certification proceedings of President Joe Biden‘s victory. Pence, however, has often evaded leveling direct attacks at Trump since launching his own bid for the 2024 election, including avoiding telling Collins on Friday whether he believed that Trump is “unfit” to be president.
“I’m running for president of the United States because I believe our party and our country need new leadership,” Pence told CNN. “And I’ve been very clear about that.”
According to analysis by polling group FiveThirtyEight, Trump is polling at 55.1 percent on average among Republicans across the surveys. Pence is in fifth place, at 4 percent, trailing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (13.5 percent), businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (6.6 percent) and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (6.5 percent).