Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is seriously considering a White House bid, is traveling to Charleston, S.C., on Monday to attend a local law enforcement roundtable, a senior Pence adviser tells CBS News.
He’ll touch down in South Carolina just nine days before Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is expected to announce her 2024 presidential campaign.
Pence’s ninth trip to the Palmetto State since he left office will focus in part on renewed efforts by Congress to pass police reform legislation after five officers were accused of killing 29-year-old Tyre Nichols in Memphis last month, the adviser said.
He has regularly been visiting early presidential primary states in recent months,as he mulls a run, and has been meeting with key constituent groups including law enforcement officials.
The former vice president will meet with South Carolina sheriffs and officers of different municipalities on Monday in order to “push back on the restored ‘Defund the Police’ movement that’s sweeping across the country,” according to the Pence aide.
GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who has led police reform negotiations for Republicans in the Senate, is not scheduled to attend the roundtable. On Capitol Hill, police reform talks are moving slowly after negotiations between Scott and Democratic Sen. Cory Booker collapsed in 2021. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) met with President Joe Biden on Thursday to discuss reforms — its members want to “bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act back,” CBC Whip Rep. Marilyn Strickland said. But Scott, in a post on Twitter the same day, dismissed Democrats’ previous proposal as a “a nonstarter.”
Scott, who is also considering a presidential run, will hold his own event in Charleston on Feb. 16, a day after Haley’s expected announcement, as part of his “Faith in America” national listening tour.
South Carolina, which is the third state to vote in the Republican primary process, has attracted a lot of attention among 2024 presidential hopefuls from both parties in recent months. Former President Donald Trump made his first campaign stop in the state last week to announce his leadership team, while Mr. Biden recommended the Democratic National Committee reorder its own nominating process to make South Carolina the first in the nation to hold a primary election. For decades, Iowa and New Hampshire have been the first to weigh in on presidential candidates.
Even so, Pence has not signaled that his entry into the 2024 race is imminent. During remarks in Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning, he told business leaders that he will continue touring the country for several months before making a decision.
“We’re gonna keep listening very intently to the American people,” Pence said. “I promise to keep you posted.”
Pence will also make a stop in Myrtle Beach, S.C., later that day to speak at an event organized by the Horry County Republican Party.