RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As speculation swirls over his potential 2024 presidential run, former Vice President Mike Pence will speak about his policy agenda for Republicans at the University of Virginia next week during an event hosted by a conservative group.
Pence’s speech will focus on educational freedom, free speech and his “Freedom Agenda” platform, according to his political advocacy organization.
The April 12 event is being hosted by the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at the University of Virginia, which is tied to the conservative group Young America’s Foundation but not affiliated with the university.
Pence’s appearance is part of Young America’s Foundation’s Ken & Janice Shengold Advancing Freedom Lecture Series, which had previous stops at Stanford University and the University of Iowa. Students and other demonstrators protested against the former vice president’s appearance on both those campuses.
The University of Virginia’s campus newspaper, the Cavalier Daily, published an editorial on March 17 calling out school leaders and labeling Pence’s views on LGBTQ individuals and their rights, immigrants and minorities as dangerous rhetoric that “is not entitled” a platform.
“The LGBTQ+ individuals Pence has attacked, the Black lives he refuses to value and the successful stories of immigration he and the former president hope to prevent — these very people are our peers, our neighbors and our community members. We refuse to condone platforming Pence,” the editorial reads.
The Washington Post editorial board issued an op-ed in response, saying Pence has faced backlash from Republicans and Democrats alike and “deserves to be heard.” They cited the GOP’s attacks on the former vice president after he refused to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
“Whatever one’s views on former vice president Mike Pence — ours have been critical — there’s no denying that efforts to silence and cancel him have been bipartisan. They are also unwarranted,” The Washington Post’s editorial board wrote.
Pence’s recently unveiled “Freedom Agenda” provides a framework for Republican congressional candidates for this year’s midterms, including proposals to cut taxes, enhance the US Navy’s fleet and make investments in new technology. The agenda also sticks with far-right talking points, including a goal of ending “‘woke culture in the military.”
While he has not made any announcements, the release of the policy agenda, Pence’s decision to distance himself from former President Donald Trump and his series of speaking events across the country has fed the speculation that Pence is planning a run in 2024.
The event starts at 7 p.m. and will be held in Old Cabell Hall.