Former VP Pence in Columbia for first public address since leaving office

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 11:19 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Former Vice President Mike Pence made his first public speech since leaving office during a visit to Columbia on Thursday.

He spoke at the Palmetto Family Council Annual Gala.

Pence used the event as a testing ground for a potential presidential run in 2024.

South Carolina has become an important state when it comes to presidential nominations, a point not lost on the Palmetto Family Council’s executive director, Dave Wilson.

“The road to heaven and the White House leads through South Carolina,” Wilson told NBC News when Pence’s speech was announced. “We understand South Carolina does play a part in national politics, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

The former VP also criticized President Joe Biden and his first 100 days in office.

South Carolina Democrats released a statement Tuesday in response to Pence’s visit that read in part:

“We all watched as Pence ignored early warning signs about the seriousness of this virus. He repeatedly downplayed the threat and he told the American people that the risk it posed was low. We were then witness when he failed to lead as chair of the COVID-19 taskforce, choosing to ignore the recommendations of scientific experts.”

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