WASHINGTON — Some House Republicans praised former Vice President Mike Pence for certifying the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021, and encouraged him to run for president in 2024 in a private meeting on Wednesday.

During a meeting of the Republican Study Committeethe largest group of conservatives in Congress, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, stood up and thanked Pence for his “courage and standing for the Constitution and affirming” President Joe Biden’s election victory, according to Rep. French Hill, R- Ark., and two other Republicans who attended the meeting.

Roy’s comments received “sustained applause” in the room, Hill told NBC News. “I commend Vice President Pence for standing for the Constitution and doing his duty under duress,” Hill said.

“Let me say that the vice president is a real moral force. He is a true leader and he has earned the respect of Republicans and other Americans across the country,” said Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., told reporters as he left the meeting at the Capitol Hill Club, near the Capitol complex.

Later in the meeting, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Pence that he appreciated his dealings with lawmakers and asked if he had plans to move to the Oval Office in 2024, according to a lawmaker in attendance who discussed the private meeting. on condition of anonymity.

Leaving the meeting, Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., told reporters that “people there encouraged him” to run for president.

Pence, who is arguing for a possible presidential bid in 2024, responded that he and his wife Karen are focused on helping Republicans get the House and Senate back in the fall midterms, his new book is due out later this year. launch, and considering their next steps for the future.

Representatives for Pence and Issa did not respond when approached for comment.

After his congressional visit, Pence went to South Carolina, an early presidential primary state, where he delivered a talk on the “Post-Roe World” at a church in the city of Florence.

“I’m a fan of his,” Bacon said. “I’m not here to push him in any way. But I love what Vice President Pence stands for. I like his character.”

The former vice president “talked about how Republicans can set an agenda to help us win and not just win in November, but focus on when we get the majority back,” said RSC chairman Jim Banks, R-Ind. ., a hoosier as a medal. “And the agenda was well received.”

Pence previously headed the RSC from 2005 to 2007 when he was a member of the House of Representatives.

Banks, who has invited a parade of potential 2024 GOP candidates to speak with his group, declined to say whether they discussed Jan. 6 at the meeting.

Image: Jim Banks Mike Pence
Rep. Jim Banks greets former Vice President Mike Pence at the Capitol Hill Club ahead of a private meeting with House Republicans in Washington on July 20, 2022.Kyle Stewart / NBC News

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack will hold a primetime hearing Thursday, focusing on Trump’s failure to act for more than three hours when a violent mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol — with some chanting “Hang Mike.” Pennies!” — in an effort to keep Trump in power.

Pence had rejected Trump’s demands that he block the certification of the election results and return electoral votes to states that had voted for Biden. Amid the riots, the Secret Service escorted Pence and his family to a safe location and planned to chase him away from the Capitol. But the vice president insisted he stay and later returned to fulfill his duty, confirming Biden’s victory.

Months after the uprising, Pence said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library that he was proud of his team’s actions that day, adding that he had no constitutional authority to reverse the election.

“The truth is, there is almost no idea more un-American than the idea that anyone could elect the US president,” Pence said in June 2021. “The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone.”

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