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Trump, Pence square off with dueling speeches in possible GOP primary preview

Former running mates court MAGA voters in separate events Tuesday

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Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday will address a crowd in Washington, D.C., for the first time since he left office, hours after his former vice president, Mike Pence, spoke at a separate conservative event.

Presidential preview? Although neither has officially announced their candidacy, it is widely speculated that each is preparing a 2024 White House run, setting up a potential showdown between the former political duo.

  • Pence appealed to the Trump wing of the Republican Party during a speech at Young America’s Foundation’s National Conservative Student Conference Tuesday, outlining his “Freedom Agenda.” 
  • He slammed “big tech, big media, big government (and) even big business” for advancing a “pernicious woke agenda.”

Playing to the base: In an unusual twist, Trump is facing criticism from the fringes of his base, who believe the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) — where Trump is speaking this afternoon — isn’t supportive enough of the former president.

  • Writing for the conservative publication American Greatness, former Trump aide Peter Navarro urged Trump to skip the event, saying AFPI’s leadership includes “a former Cabinet secretary who almost got Trump impeached” and “a former top adviser to Dick ‘Endless War’ Cheney,” among others.
  • “Most perniciously, the AFPI economics team is peppered with free trade ideologues on record opposing Trump’s tariffs,” Navarro wrote.

How to watch: Trump’s keynote will air on C-SPAN at 1 p.m. MDT.