‘Traitor!’ Mike Pence heckled during speech at Florida faith conference

As he spoke, the former vice president was at times almost drowned out by booing

Nathan Place
New York
Friday 18 June 2021 20:19
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Mike Pence gets heckled at a Faith & Freedom Coalition event in Orlando, Florida

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Former vice president Mike Pence was loudly heckled during his speech to a Christian conservative group in Orlando, Florida on Friday.

As Mr Pence spoke to the Faith & Freedom Coalition, aggressive booing and cries of “Traitor!” could be heard from the crowd.

“It is great to be back with so many patriots, dedicated to faith and freedom and the road to the majority!” Mr Pence thundered as the shouting began to drown him out. “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order, and I am honoured to stand before you today.”

Shouts of “No!” and other heckling persisted as he soldiered on through the speech.

Mr Pence has been loathed by some of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters since 6 January last year, when he presided over the Senate as it certified Joe Biden’s election victory. Under the United States Constitution, Mr Pence was obligated to do so, but Mr Trump and his followers regarded it as an act of betrayal.

Since then, Mr Pence has tried to move on from that moment and reestablish his conservative bona fides by speaking to staunchly conservative groups like Faith & Freedom, the leadership of which has warmly welcomed him.

“During his tenure as United States Vice President, Mike Pence sought to bring honour to God and his country,” the group said on its website. “The Faith & Freedom Coalition is thrilled to welcome the former Vice President and American patriot, Mike Pence, to speak at this year’s Road to Majority Policy Conference.”

The event’s audience, however, made it clear they’re not so ready to embrace him.

According to CNN, the hecklers were wearing Make America Great Again hats – a sign of loyalty to Mr Trump – and were escorted out of the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center by security.

In the days leading up to 6 January, Mr Trump repeatedly told his supporters Mr Pence had the power to overturn the 2020 election, which he falsely said had been stolen from him. On the day of the certification, he repeated this misinformation at his infamous Stop the Steal rally in Washington, DC.

“If Mike Pence does the right thing we win the election,” the former president told his supporters.

Hours later, those supporters were storming the Capitol, some of them chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”

Mr Pence was whisked out of the Senate Chamber by security, and was not harmed in the riot. The damage to his political career is another question.

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