Will run pence in 2020
Mike Pence - Liaison with Evangelicals : "Donald Trump and I have become very close friends"
Actually, this performance should not take place in Peoria. If the rules of the American health authorities also applied to their own government, Mike Pence would be sitting in the Number One Observatory Circle, the residence of the US Vice Presidents in Washington, and would stay away from other people.
He would now neither speak to supporters in this suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, nor would he have entered the first and only TV duel with the vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris in Salt Lake City, Utah, the previous evening.
Because he too was on September 26 at the ceremony in the rose garden of the White House, now known as the "superspreading event", at which Amy Coney Barrett was introduced as a candidate for the late Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg - like President Donald Trump , the First Lady and various major Republican parties.
More than a dozen of those present have now tested positive for the corona virus, Trump was even treated in hospital for three days and suspended his election campaign.
For this, it was quickly clear that his vice-president should take over appearances. After all, the choice is in less than four weeks. For a few days, at least until Trump staged his alleged lightning recovery, Pence was also the one who would step in should the president fail because of his Covid 19 disease. In this case, according to the constitution, the vice-president would be next in line. For this reason, observers had noted, Pence had to take special care of his health.
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He apparently sees it differently and points to several negative tests that he and his wife would have got back. The rules of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are clear: Everyone who has been in contact with an infected person should go into self-quarantine for 14 days. Since the Vice President is also head of the Corona Task Force of the White House, he actually knows that very well.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are also in Phoenix
But after Trump had to cancel his planned visit to Arizona this week, and because Democratic challengers Joe Biden and Kamala Harris announced themselves for Thursday - for the first time in this election campaign - it is now up to Pence to keep the Republican base happy do.
Because Arizona, the state in the southwest of the USA without which the Republicans have never secured the presidency, has suddenly developed into a "battleground state", one of the states in which the polls are head-to-head. Predict races.
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In addition, voters have been able to vote here since this week: Early voting began on Wednesday - in Maricopa County, the district to which the metropolis of Phoenix and suburbs such as Peoria belong and which will be decisive for the question Whoever wins the state on November 3rd, there was a record rush to kick off.
The fans wait for hours in the sun at almost 40 degrees
When Pence took the stage on the TYR Tactical site at 2:04 p.m. - almost half an hour before the scheduled time - the mostly older fans had been waiting patiently for more than two hours. And that at almost 40 degrees in the sun. The national anthem was sung more than an hour ago, the oath of the flag was pronounced, the prayer was said. It is now time for the keynote speaker.
An estimated 300 to 400 followers came, almost all of them with fan articles such as the red "Make America Great Again" caps, T-shirts with clear political messages or wrapped in American flags. It's not nearly as many as in a Trump rally, but at least it's a working day.
The greeting was taken over by Karen Pence, according to her husband Mike the only woman he would have dinner with, as he once put it. They are considered inseparable, have been married for 34 years - and deeply religious: He says of himself that he is “Christian, Conservative, Republican”, in precisely that order. She introduces him by telling of their common path in which they always trusted in God. Her motto is "Faith, Family and Freedom", says the Second Lady.
His religiosity is taken away from him
The vice president is considered an important link with evangelical voters. Unlike the President, Pence, who converted from Catholic to Evangelical, is also deprived of his religiosity. That he - socially conservative - is deeply against abortion and against the equal treatment of sexual minorities. Perhaps even that his belief prevents him from believing in man-made climate change: He argues that schools should teach other genesis stories instead of or at least in addition to the theory of evolution.
Unlike Trump, Pence is also deeply loyal. During his appearances in the first months of the Corona crisis, he always praised the President's work in detail first. He always remains controlled and rarely runs out of the skin. Even in the TV duel on Wednesday evening, he interrupted Kamala Harris a few times and often talked longer than allowed. But his behavior was not even close to that of Trump in his debate the previous week.
When he spoke about this one on Thursday, he alluded to the obvious differences between the two of them. “Some people think that we say a little bit differently,” he says, making his audience laugh. "But I tell you: we have become very close friends." He has not seen a day in the past four years on which Trump did not give everything to keep his promises.
The real star remains Donald Trump
That works. Because although they all like pence here, their real star is Donald Trump. Pence knows that. And he doesn't even try to compete for popularity with the former reality TV star. Instead, he promises that the president will be back in the election campaign “earlier than expected”. That he himself will soon give up his role as the top election campaigner.
And indeed: Shortly afterwards, Trump's doctors published a statement in which it was said that this Saturday it was ten days since the president had tested positive. Then they basically give him permission to appear again in public.
In the event that things still don't go that fast, Pence cancels an appearance planned for the next day on Thursday in his home state of Indiana, which he was sure to vote for, and which he ruled as governor for four years. Instead, he is expected on Saturday in Florida and on Monday in Ohio, both “swing states”, in which the race could also end very closely.
Because Pence understands his role as head of the Corona task force primarily to mean that he publicly belittles the dangers of the crisis despite the more than 210,000 deaths in America, he is criticized by many. At the base in Peoria, however, this is well received: the cheering is always greatest when he explains that the American economy should be ramped up again quickly.
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