By Jack Phillips
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s move to suspend his 2024 campaign drew a response from former President Donald Trump, who suggested that his former right-hand man should endorse him.
“Everybody that leaves seems to be endorsing me,” the former president told a rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday. “You know people are leaving now and they’re all endorsing me.”
Two GOP presidential candidates who dropped their White House bids, Perry Johnson and Larry Elder, both endorsed President Trump, who is currently leading by significant margins over the other candidates in polls.
“I don’t know about Mike Pence: He should endorse me,” President Trump told the Las Vegas rally after Mr. Pence dropped out of the campaign. “He should endorse me. You know why? Because I had a great, successful presidency, and he was the vice president. He should endorse me.”
Elaborating, the former president stated that “I chose him, made him vice president, but people in politics can be very disloyal.”
Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Pence announced he would end his campaign after struggling for months in the polls. A recent report showed that his campaign wasn’t able to raise enough from donors and was struggling with debt.
Mr. Pence’s decision—more than two months before the Iowa caucuses that he had staked his campaign on—saves him from accumulating additional debt, as well as the embarrassment of potentially failing to qualify for the third Republican primary debate, on Nov. 8 in Miami.
“Traveling over the country over the past six months, I came here to say it’s become clear to me: This is not my time,” he said. “So after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president effective today.”
In his speech, he did not appear to endorse anyone. “I urge all my fellow Republicans here, give our country a Republican standard bearer that will, as Lincoln said, appeal to the better angels of our nature,” Mr. Pence said while in Las Vegas, saying that they should pick someone who leads with “civility.”
Mr. Pence ended September with just $1.18 million left in his campaign account, a strikingly low number for a presidential contest and far less than his rivals, new filings show. His campaign also has $621,000 in debt—more than half the cash he had remaining—and was scrambling to meet donor thresholds for the Nov. 8 debate.
While he would likely meet the debate’s polling requirements, he struggled to gain traction and is polling in the low single digits nationally, with no sign of momentum.
An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research from August found that the majority of U.S. adults, 57 percent, viewed Mr. Pence negatively, with only 28 percent having a positive view.
Throughout his campaign, the former Indiana governor and congressman had insisted that while he was well-known by voters, he was not “known well” and set out to change that with an aggressive schedule that included numerous stops at diners and Pizza Ranch restaurants.
The former vice president is expected to remain engaged in politics, in part through Advancing American Freedom, the conservative think tank he founded after leaving the vice presidency and that he envisions it as an alternative to The Heritage Foundation. He also has a book coming out next month.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another 2024 candidate who has struggled in the polls, predicted on Sunday that more Republicans will drop out of the White House race.
“It is narrowing. It will narrow more, I suspect, when we get to the debate stage in Miami,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I think the field will consolidate, Jake, but it’s not my place to tell people when to get out,” he said.
A third GOP debate will be held in November, with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Mr. Christie reportedly expecting to attend. The Trump campaign has said that the former president will not attend any future debates, citing his commanding lead in the polls.
An aggregate of polls for Sunday shows that President Trump currently has 59 percent, while Mr. DeSantis has 12.6 percent, Mrs. Haley has 8.3 percent, Mr. Ramaswamy has 4.5 percent, Mr. Christie has 2.4 percent, and Mr. Scott has 1.6 percent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.