FIRST ON FOX – Former Vice President Mike Pence returns next month to Iowa – the state whose caucuses lead the GOP presidential nomination calendar – to take part in an annual motorcycle ride benefiting veterans, as he prepares for his expected entry into the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race.
Fox News learned that Pence will ride with Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, annual ‘Roast and Ride’ motorcycle ride on Saturday, June 3 – an important stop on the Iowa Republican political calendar. This year’s event benefits the Freedom Foundation, an organization that supports veterans based in Cedar Rapids.
Ernst, who served in the Iraq War during his more than two decades as an officer in the Iowa Army National Guard, invited all confirmed and potential GOP White House contenders to join his annual trip to about Des Moines and the rally that followed. at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
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Among those invited are former President Donald Trump, who is making his third consecutive White House run and is currently the overwhelming front-runner in the Republican primary battle, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who remains on the 2024 sidelines but is expected to launch a campaign in the coming weeks.
The senator announced last week that former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who later served as ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration, will participate in the ‘Roast and Ride.’
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In a statement announcing the former vice president’s participation in his ‘Roast and Ride,’ Ernst said that “as a fellow motorcycle fan, Mike will also join me on my Ride to benefit Iowa’s Freedom Foundation .”
Pence, who rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as vice president before joining Ernst’s campaign six years ago, said in a statement on Fox News on Monday that “wherever Joni Ernst asks me, I will go. “
He continued: “As the proud parents of a Marine pilot, Karen and I understand the importance of giving back to organizations like Cedar Rapids’ own Freedom Foundation, an amazing veterans supporter of charity. annual Roast and Ride and look forward to returning to the people of Iowa soon!”
Pence, who has made several trips to Iowa and other early voting presidential nominations in the past two years, said he will make a decision on launching a presidential campaign in the coming weeks. week.
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Targeting President Biden and the Democratic National Committee for their move earlier this year to remove Iowa from its primary position on the Democratic presidential nominee calendar, the senator emphasized that “even if Joe removed Biden and the national Democrats Iowa, the Republicans continue. our FIRST in the state of the country. My annual Roast and Ride is the event that will take place in 2023. This is the perfect opportunity to interact directly with the Iowans from all over the state.”
Ernst launched his annual trip shortly after winning the Senate election in 2014. He said at the time that his goal was to show his party’s leading candidates, as did former Senator Tom Harkin, in Iowa, at his annual “steak fry” for Democratic presidential hopefuls.
Ernst, along with the rest of Iowa’s Republican congressional delegation, remained neutral as the GOP presidential candidates battled it out in the Iowa caucuses.
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The senator, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also hosts foreign policy and national security policy discussions with White House hopefuls.
Haley and Pence have already participated in a discussion hosted by Ernst at the Bastion Institute, a think tank whose goal is to “discuss the path toward strengthening America’s leadership and standing on the international stage.”