WASHINGTON (AP) — GOP presidential candidate Mike Pence, the former vice president, chastised a group of hard-right Republicans who ousted Kevin McCarthy from his role as House speaker Tuesday, saying that “chaos is never America’s friend.”
Pence was onstage at a national security and foreign policy event at Washington’s Georgetown University co-hosted by The Associated Press when the news broke.
When told of the historic vote, Pence waited several seconds before he responded. He then described it as a distraction from the issues that matter to Americans.
“Well let me say that chaos is never America’s friend. And it’s never a friend of American families that are struggling,” he said. “And I’m deeply disappointed that a handful of Republicans would partner with all the Democrats in the House of Representatives to out the Speaker of the House.”
There was no clear path forward Tuesday night after the vote to dislodge McCarthy, a first in American history. Pence said that he expected additional votes to take place this week and predicted that McCarthy would eventually be reelected to the post.
But he said what took place underscored the need for new leadership in Washington.
“Political performance art in Washington, D.C., does little to address the issues the American people are facing,” he said, vowing to “focus on the needs and the challenges and the opportunities and the future of the American people” if he is elected.
Pence faces an uphill fight for the nomination in a party that remains closely aligned with his old boss, former President Donald Trump.
Pence had said earlier in the conversation that he believed the disorder that preceded the vote was “just one more reason why the American people want to see new leadership” in the White House.
Trump earlier in the day also weighed in on the drama, asking, “Why is it that Republicans are always fighting among themselves, why aren’t they fighting the Radical Left Democrats who are destroying our Country?” on his Truth Social network.
Colvin reported from New York.