CHICAGO — Mike Pence attacked President Joe Biden and his administration on Monday for what he called “squandering” gains made to the economy under former President Donald Trump, stoking speculation that the former vice president may make a run for the White House in 2024.
“The truth is, the American dream is slipping further and further out of reach every day for more families. Our economy is not serving the American people the way they should,” Pence said, blaming “runaway inflation” caused by Biden’s economic policies.
He pointed to rising gas prices and shortages in baby formula as symptoms of “a growing economic crisis that is unlike any other in our history.”
Pence spoke to a sold-out crowd of 350 members of the University Club of Chicago in the Loop on Monday, a week ahead of the Illinois primary election on June 28. The former vice president also made fundraising stops for Republicans in the Midwest state.
At the University Club, Pence kept his remarks focused on the Biden administration and the economy and didn’t take questions from reporters.
Pence gave only passing reference to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, which is the subject of House hearings this summer and has put Pence in the spotlight for not bending to Trump to thwart certification of Biden’s 2020 election victory.
“We have been through a lot over the past several years,” Pence said, ticking off “a global pandemic, social unrest, a divisive election, a tragic day in our nation’s capital, and an administration seemingly every day driving our economy into the abyss of a social welfare state.”
The 40-minute speech that had a whiff of campaign rhetoric drew polite applause from the crowd.
Pence’s remarks were wedged between a fundraiser in the morning for Esther Joy King, a Republican running for the 17th Congressional District seat that opened up when Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos announced she wouldn’t seek reelection, and a Lincoln Day dinner in Peoria.
More than 600 Republicans are signed up to attend that event, which is organized by the Tazewell County Republican Central Committees and will also headline GOP Rep. Darin LaHood, who called Pence “a conservative champion” for the Midwest, according to a statement.