Pence bemoans Biden’s economic agenda in calling for ‘change in direction’

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday called for a “change in direction” to reverse the economic woes facing the country, led mostly by soaring costs for food and gasoline. 

Pence, speaking to the University Club of Chicago, bemoaned President Biden’s economic agenda, which he argued squandered a strong foundation left behind by the Trump administration.  

“Inflation is rampant. Gas and food prices are rising. Real wages are falling. And the stock market is plummeting. Grocery stores from time to time are empty, and that confidence and pride that were once synonymous with the American people in recent years has been replaced with fear and a national anxiety,” Pence said. 

The former vice president reiterated a popular right-leaning notion that Biden push back against the “radical left” of the Democratic Party or risk defeat in November’s midterm elections. 

“I have every confidence that unless this administration changes course and their allies in Congress change course dramatically, the American people are going to change leadership, and change leadership very soon,” Pence said. 

The former vice president focused extensively on gas prices, which hit an average of $5 per gallon last week, according to AAA. Biden has “no idea” how to bring down gas prices, Pence said, arguing the president’s decision to release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve did not bring down prices but made the country vulnerable to a future national security emergency. 

Pence laid out his own economic vision in the speech, pointing to lower taxes, fair trade deals and investing in domestic energy production as measures to lower costs and foster growth. 

The economy has repeatedly proven to be a point of vulnerability for Biden and Democrats heading into November’s midterms, with a number of competing economic factors spurring fears of a recession. Biden and his team have in recent days said repeatedly a recession is not inevitable

Pence was last in the spotlight last Thursday when the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol focused a hearing on the pressure campaign from Trump and his allies to get Pence to reject the 2020 election results, and the threats against Pence that resulted. 

The former vice president has not weighed in on the hearings, and he did not speak to reporters during Monday’s appearance in Chicago.  

Pence is widely seen as laying the groundwork to launch a presidential campaign for the 2024 GOP nomination. He has been a regular at Republican events in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa, and in recent days he has held events alongside the governors of Arizona and Ohio. 

His speeches routinely contrast the record of the Biden administration with the “Trump-Pence administration,” seeking to tie himself to the successes of the last administration while distancing himself from some of the more controversial and chaotic aspects of his old boss’s term. 

Pence has said Trump was “wrong” to suggest the vice president could overturn the 2020 election results on Jan. 6, 2021, when scores of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol. And Pence has said there is “no room” in the GOP for “Putin apologists,” a veiled swipe at Trump and some of his allies who have spoken warmly of the Russian president or glossed over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

On Monday, Pence highlighted the last administration’s tax cuts, its investment in energy production, its support for school choice and tax credits for investing in low-income communities as he made the case for the Republican economic agenda. 

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