Pence to give commencement address at South Carolina university

Former Vice President Mike Pence during the 2021 Free Iran Summit in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 28, 2021.
Julia Nikhinson

Former Vice President Mike Pence will be giving the commencement address at a Christian university in South Carolina in April, the school announced on Friday.

Columbia International University, which touts education that incorporates “a biblical worldview,” announced on Friday that Pence would be giving the spring commencement address at the school on April 30.

The university noted previous remarks Pence has made in which he has referred to himself as a “born-again” Christian, and the school added that he has been “known for a strong stance on biblical and family issues.”

Though it is unclear exactly what Pence may touch upon in his commencement to students at the Christian university, its president, Mark Smith, said in an interview with The Associated Press that he asked the former vice president to “come and share ideas about how his life has been shaped by his faith” and for the speech not to be political.

The news outlet noted that Pence and Smith have known each other for over 10 years.

The announcement comes as Pence last week gave a speech at a Federalist Society event in Florida in which he appeared to deliver his strongest comments yet breaking away from former President Trump over his decision to certify the 2020 presidential election results.

“There are those in our party who believe that as the presiding officer over the joint session of Congress, I possessed unilateral authority to reject Electoral College votes. And I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to ‘overturn the election,'” Pence said.

“President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election,” he continued. “The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. Frankly, there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”

The former president issued a statement later that evening pushing back against Pence’s comments, though the criticism was measured in tone while still continuing to spread baseless allegations of voter fraud.

“Just saw Mike Pence’s statement on the fact that he had no right to do anything with respect to the Electoral Vote Count, other than being an automatic conveyor belt for the Old Crow Mitch McConnell to get Biden elected President as quickly as possible,” Trump said in a statement through his Save America PAC. “Well, the Vice President’s position is not an automatic conveyor if obvious signs of voter fraud or irregularities exist.”

Pence’s brother, Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.), was asked earlier this week if he agreed with his brother’s comments at the Federalist Society event.

“I’ll stand by my brother now and forever. I love my brother. I’ll stand by him,” the congressman told CNN’s Manu Raju.

The Hill has reached out to a spokesperson for the former vice president and university for comment.

Tags 2020 election Donald Trump Greg Pence Greg Pence Mike Pence Mike Pence Mitch McConnell South Carolina
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