Trump and Pence showed a sharp division of the Republicans

The growing rivalry between former U.S. leader Donald Trump and his once fiercely loyal Vice President Mike Pence was on display when they dueled speeches in Washington about the future of the Republican Party.

r Trump, on his first return to Washington since Democrat Joe Biden ousted him from the White House, repeated the false allegations of election fraud that sparked the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising, while Mr. Pence, in a separate address, pleaded party get away from Defeat Mr. Trump.

Federal and state election officials, as well as Trump’s Attorney General, have said there is no credible evidence that the 2020 election was botched.

The former president’s allegations of fraud have also been vehemently rejected by US courts, including judges appointed by him.

“This election was a disaster,” Trump nevertheless told an audience of cheering supporters at an America First Agenda summit about a mile from the White House.

Hours earlier, speaking to a student conservative group, Pence said, “Some people may focus on the past, but elections are the future.”

The speeches revealed divisions within the party between Trump supporters, who have so far refused to accept the results of the 2020 election, and other Republicans who believe the party should instead focus on the future ahead of this fall’s midterm elections and beyond.

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Former President Donald Trump talks about lifting weights as he speaks at the America First Policy Institute (AP) program summit.

And they come as both men lay the groundwork for the expected presidential election.

Mr. Trump, in particular, teased his intentions and said on Tuesday that he “may just have to do it again” when he addressed a group of former White House officials and cabinet members who were developing an agenda for a possible second Trump. administration.

Mr. Pence spoke about his own “Freedom Agenda”, presenting a different vision for the party at a conference nearby.

“I believe that conservatives should focus on the future in order to take back America. We cannot afford to take our eyes off the road ahead of us because the very survival of our way of life is at stake,” he said in an address to the Young America Foundation, a student conservative group.

Trump also said that America’s survival was at stake. In a speech billed as public safety, he painted a grim picture of a nation in decline and in imminent danger from rising crime.

Among his proposals, he called for the shooting of drug dealers, the sending of the homeless to tent cities on the outskirts of cities, and the expansion of his southern border wall.

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Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Young America Foundation’s National Conservative Student Conference (AP).

Mr. Biden joined him on Twitter in dismissing Mr. Trump’s claim that he was a law enforcement president.

Referring to the riots at the Capitol, the US President tweeted: “I don’t think it’s ‘respect for the law’ to incite a mob to attack a cop. You can’t be for an uprising and for the cops, or for democracy, or for the Americans.”

Mr. Trump also spent a lot of time in his speech voicing his usual grievances, even as some advisers urged him to move on.

“If I gave up my beliefs, if I agreed to remain silent, if I stayed at home and just relaxed, the persecution of Donald Trump would immediately stop,” he said. “But I won’t do it.

Despite Mr. Trump’s reputation as a tough critic, Mr. Pence and other would-be GOP candidates have shown an increasingly brazen willingness to take on the man who remains the dominant force in the GOP despite his actions on Jan. 6, when he stood A mob of his supporters ransacked the US Capitol and tried to prevent Biden’s victory from being confirmed.

Former White House associates also campaigned for rival candidates in Arizona on Friday, and former Pence chief of staff Mark Short recently testified before a federal grand jury investigating the attack on the US Capitol.

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Trump remains a popular figure among Republican supporters (AP)

Mr. Short was in the building the day Mr. Pence fled an angry mob of rioters who called for him to be hanged after Mr. Trump erroneously insisted his vice president had the power to overturn the election .

Mr. Pence repeatedly defended his actions that day, even as his decision to stand up to his boss turned a significant part of Mr. Trump’s loyal base against him.

Polls show Mr. Trump remains by far the top choice of Republican voters in the primary, with Mr. Pence far behind.

The contrast was on display Tuesday when Mr. Trump addressed an audience of hundreds of cheering supporters gathered for the two-day America First Agenda Summit of the America First Policy Institute.

This group is widely viewed as an “administration on hold” that could quickly move to the West Wing if Mr. Trump runs again and wins.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pence received a friendly but less than enthusiastic reception from students who were struggling to make it into “USA!” repeat

Mr. Pence has repeatedly touted the “Trump-Pence administration” in his speeches.

But the first question he received during the short Q&A session that followed his speech was about his growing rift with Trump.

Mr. Pence denied that the two “differ on issues” but acknowledged: “We may differ in focus.”

He added: “I truly believe elections are about the future and that at a time when so many Americans are suffering and so many families are struggling, it is absolutely essential to resist the temptation to look back. ”