Pence says he’ll sign GOP pledge to make debate stage: ‘I’m more than happy to meet the criteria’

Former Vice President Mike Pence, at the Iowa State Fair, tells Fox News ‘I’m confident I’ll be able to support the Republican nominee, especially if it’s me’

-Former Vice President Mike Pence says he’ll sign a Republican National Committee loyalty pledge in order to qualify for the first GOP presidential debate later this month.

‘"I’m more than happy to meet the criteria," Pence said in a national digital exclusive interview with Fox News as he made his way through the Iowa State Fairgrounds. "I’m confident I’ll be able to support the Republican nominee, especially if it’s me."

Pence is one of eight Republican presidential candidates who’ve met the polling and donor thresholds spelled out by the RNC in order to qualify for the Fox News hosted debate on August 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The RNC is also requesting that in order to make the debate stage, candidates sign a pledge that states they’ll support the GOP’s eventual presidential nominee – regardless of whom it is – and that they won’t take part in any debate not sanctioned by the national party committee.


Pence says he’ll sign GOP pledge to make debate stage: ‘I’m more than happy to meet the criteria’

Former Vice President Mike Pence, a 2024 Republican White House candidate, speaks at the 'Political Soapbox' at the Iowa State Fair, on August 10, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa  (Fox News - James Levinson)

Last week, reacting to Donald Trump’s federal indictment on charges the former president attempted to overturn his loss in the 2020 election, Pence said his one-time running mate’s "indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States."

The former president was indicted in connection to his actions and state of mind on Jan. 6, 2021, and in the lead-up to that infamous day – when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. The attack temporarily disrupted congressional certification of President Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump.


Pence was at the Capitol at the time it was attacked, overseeing the joint session of Congress. He was forced, along with members of Congress to temporarily flee to safety as the rioters - some chanting that the then-vice president should be hanged - stormed the Capitol. By following his constitutional duties instead of following Trump’s wishes and overturn the results, Pence has endured the wrath of the former president and plenty of Trump’s most devout loyalists and supporters

Asked by Fox News Digital on Thursday how he can square signing the pledge to support the eventual nominee – even if it’s Trump – with his comments that Trump’s actions in trying to overturn the 2020 election should prevent him from regaining the White House, Pence said he’s "confident that Republican primary voters know that not only do we need new leadership in the White House, but we need new leadership in the Republican Party."


Fox News then specifically asked Pence what he would do if Trump wins the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. 

"I’m very proud of the record of the Trump administration," Pence answered. "But the president and I took a different path in the end and sadly in the last two and a half years the former president has continued to maintain that I had the right to overturn the election. I had no right to overturn the election. If the American people hear us out, they know that we kept our oath to the constitution. I’m confident more and more Americans every day are understanding the stand that we took and appreciating our commitment to keep the oath that we made to them and to almighty God."

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican Party Of Iowa's annual Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday, July 28, 2023 (Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Image)

Trump, who’s the commanding front-runner in the GOP nomination race as he makes his third straight White House run, said earlier this week in an interview with Newsmax that he "wouldn’t sign the pledge…Why would I sign a pledge if there are people on there that I wouldn’t have?"

The former president added that he’ll decide next week whether he’ll attend the first debate.

Pence, when asked about Trump’s refusal to take the loyalty pledge, emphasized that "I think all the candidates for President of the United States who’ve earned the support around the country need to be on that stage."

"I think everyone who is willing to step forward and be considered here in the Iowa caucus and the upcoming primaries owes it to the American people to be on that stage to tell their story, to share their vision, and I’m looking forward to being there," Pence added.

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