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Pence planning first public speech since leaving office

Former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump spokesman says defeating Cheney a top priority GOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' MORE is planning his first speech since leaving office earlier this year. 

Pence will keynote a dinner hosted by the Palmetto Family Council — a conservative Christian nonprofit group — in South Carolina next month, an aide told The Associated Press over the weekend. 

Since vacating the vice presidency in January, Pence has been doing work with the conservative Heritage Foundation and Young America’s Foundation. He has not made any indications regarding plans to run for future public office. 

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Pence, who has not spoken publicly since he and former President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE left office, published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month criticizing the 2020 election and attacking H.R. 1, a voting rights bill that passed the House last month. 

“While legislators in many states have begun work on election reform to restore public confidence in state elections, unfortunately, congressional Democrats have chosen to sweep those valid concerns and reforms aside and to push forward a brazen attempt to nationalize elections in blatant disregard of the U.S. Constitution,” Pence wrote in the Journal, arguing the bill would "trample the First Amendment, further erode confidence in our elections, and forever dilute the votes of legally qualified eligible voters.”

Pence was criticized by Trump's supporters, hundreds of whom stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, for not standing in the way of the certification of President BidenJoe BidenCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Manchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE's Electoral College victory as the vice president presided over a joint session of Congress. 

During his final days in office, Trump repeatedly pressured Pence to "do the right thing" and "come through" for him and his supporters. 

Trump was later impeached in the House on an article of inciting insurrection against the government. He was later acquitted in his Senate trial.

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Before the trial, Pence wrote a separate Journal op-ed encouraging Democrats to reject the impeachment charge, drawing comparisons to President Andrew Johnson's impeachment. 

"But at the close of the trial on May 16, 1868, he stayed true to his convictions, opposed the passions of his own party, and voted to acquit Johnson. He faced social ostracism and physical assault. Still, he knew he was right," Pence said in the piece published on Jan. 16. "The question naturally arises: Who, among the Senate Democrats, will stand up to the passions of their party this time? Who will stand up against 'legislative mob rule' and for the rule of law? Who will be the 2020 Profile in Courage?"

South Carolina is a pivotal early presidential primary state with a victory providing momentum for any candidate with hopes of earning the Republican or Democratic nomination.