FIRST ON FOX – Former Vice President Mike Pence will return to Iowa next month – the state where caucuses lead the GOP presidential nominating 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 has learned that Pence will ride in Sen’s annual ‘Roast and Ride’ motorcycle ride. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa on Saturday, June 3 – an important stop on the Iowa Republican political calendar. This year’s event benefits the Freedom Foundation, a Cedar Rapids-based veterans support organization.
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 take part in his annual trip through parts of Des Moines and subsequent rally. at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
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Among the invitees are former President Donald Trump, who is making his third consecutive run at the White House 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 enthusiast, Mike will also be joining me on my Ride to benefit Iowa’s Freedom Foundation.”
Pence, who rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as the then-vice president attended Ernst’s event six years ago, said in a statement on Fox News on Monday that “Joni wants me wherever Ernst, I will be there.”
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 incredible veterans’ support charity. I am honored to be asked again Joni asked me to join her. annual Roast and Ride and look forward to returning to the people of Iowa soon!”
Pence, who has made numerous trips to Iowa and other early voting presidential nominating states over the past two years, said he would make a decision on launching a presidential campaign in the coming weeks.
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Taking aim at President Biden and the Democratic National Committee for their move earlier this year to knock Iowa from its top spot on the Democratic presidential nominee calendar, the senator emphasized that “even Joe Biden and the national Democrats leave Iowa, the Republicans keep our FIRST in the nation status. My annual Roast and Ride is THE event to be held in 2023. This is the perfect opportunity to connect directly with Iowans from all corners of the state.”
Ernst launched his annual trip soon after winning the Senate election in 2014. He said at the time that his goal was to showcase his party’s top candidates, as did former longtime Sen. Tom Harkin, of Iowa, at his annual “steak fry” for Democratic presidential hopefuls.
Ernst, along with the rest of Iowa’s Republican congressional delegation, is staying neutral as the GOP presidential candidates battle it out in the Iowa caucuses.
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The senator, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also hosts discussions on foreign policy and national security with White House hopefuls.
Both Haley and Pence participated in a discussion hosted by Ernst at the Bastion Institute, a think tank whose goal is to “discuss the path toward strengthening American leadership and standing on the international stage.”