But he couldn’t escape the direct contrast with Mr. Trump. When Mr. Pence finished his speech, the primary query from the audience of young conservatives at a Young America’s Foundation conference was about Mr. Trump “and the divide between the 2 of you.”
“I don’t know that our movement is that divided — I don’t know that the president and I differ on issues, but we may differ on focus,” Mr. Pence said.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence had been in somewhat regular contact after leaving office, speaking several times by phone in conversations that avoided discussion of the Capitol riot, in line with their advisers. In an interview last yr, Mr. Trump said that he had never told Mr. Pence he was sorry for not acting quicker to stop the attack — and that Mr. Pence had never asked for an apology.
But a rivalry has flared up behind the scenes.
On Monday, Mr. Pence announced that his book about his time within the administration, “So Help Me God,” could be published on Nov. 15. The book has been a source of tension with Mr. Trump, who, when he learned in early 2021 that Mr. Pence had a book deal, was still musing about obtaining considered one of his own.
But in most parts of the publishing industry, Mr. Trump was broadly seen as a risk. The previous president seemed frustrated that Mr. Pence had gotten a deal, and inside days of learning about it, he attacked the previous vice chairman while chatting with a bunch of Republican donors at a Republican National Committee event at Mar-a-Lago, seizing on Mr. Pence’s refusal to do what Mr. Trump wanted on Jan. 6, 2021.
The 2 men’s paths have also differed this yr along the midterm campaign trail. They’ve backed opposing candidates in several primary races, including the Republican governor’s contest in Arizona, which will probably be decided next week, and the party’s primary for governor in Georgia, where Mr. Pence’s pick, Gov. Brian Kemp, easily defeated his Trump-backed challenger, David Perdue.