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Mike Pence to join Heritage Foundation to ‘lead the conservative movement into the future’

The Honorable Mike Pence
 

WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Mike Pence is returning to the think tank world, the first official step show how he plans to stay active in public and political life since the change in administrations.

Pence announced Thursday that he will be a “distinguished visiting fellow” at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., where he will work to “lead the conservative movement into the future.”

“Knowing that Vice President Pence is still in the fight is an adrenaline shot for the entire conservative movement,” Heritage President Kay C. James said in a statement.

Pence plans to advise policy experts, deliver policy speeches and write a monthly column, a throwback to his career before he was first elected to Congress in 2000. Pence was a radio talk show host and president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, which was modeled after the Heritage Foundation.

Pence said the Heritage Foundation helped shape his conservative philosophy for decades and he’ll continue making the case for a strong national defense, free markets and traditional values.

Pence had to adjust some of his conservative views, including his past support for trade agreements, when he agreed to be Donald Trump’s running mate.

Pence was intensely loyal to Trump, rarely letting any daylight show between them, until the final days of the administration when the president unsuccessfully tried to persuade his No. 2 to interfere in the congressional acceptance of the electoral college votes.

The Republican Party is still reeling from the internal divisions Trump provoked and still debating whether to continue to embrace him or move on.

Pence has long had his own presidential ambitions but will have a difficult time seeking the 2024 nomination if Trump keeps his own options open.

In addition to the platform he’ll get from the Heritage Foundation, Pence is expected to be politically active in the midterm elections. And NBC recently reported that Pence will be forming a fundraising committee related to policy, which will also help him retain ties with donors. The leadership PAC he created while vice president to pay for political activities reported having $327,534 at the beginning of the year.

Pence also doesn’t have a large personal fortune to fall back on. And he doesn’t own a home, having sold his Indiana house when he became governor in 2013.

Immediately after leaving office last month, and before taking a U.S. Virgin Island vacation, Pence announced that he and his wife will be moving back to Indiana “come this summer.”

On Wednesday, he opened a transition office in northern Virginia where he is living until returning to Indiana.

The government provides six months of services for outgoing presidents and vice presidents to wrap up official business.

 

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