In a statement to The Wall Street Journal editorial board, Former Vice President Mike Pence said that he “can’t defend” the “very serious” allegations against Donald Trump regarding the mishandling of classified documents, signaling a potential increase on criticism of his former boss as the 2024 GOP primary heats up.
“Having read the indictment, these allegations are grave, and I cannot support or defend them,” Pence told the publication after Trump’s arraignment in a Miami courthouse.
Pence, however, emphasized that Trump has the right to present his defense and should be given the opportunity to respond in court and expressed his intention to withhold judgment until that time.
“The president is entitled to his day in court, he’s entitled to bring a defense, and I want to reserve judgment until he has the opportunity to respond,” added Pence, now Trump’s rival in the 2024 Republican presidential race.
Highlighting the importance of safeguarding national security and the well-being of the armed forces, Pence raised concerns about the inadvertent release of sensitive information regarding America’s nuclear program and defense capabilities. He stressed the significance of protecting the nation’s secrets, especially as he has two immediate family members serving in the U.S. armed forces.
“And, frankly, having two members of our immediate family serving in the armed forces of the United States, I will never diminish the importance of protecting our nation’s secrets,” he added.
Nevertheless, Pence hinted that he found it difficult to believe that politics did not play a role in the decision to charge Trump with federal crimes.