Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday came out against calls within the GOP to defund the FBI following the raid of former President Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago.
Mr. Pence also left the door open to testifying before the House Jan. 6 committee, saying he “would have to reflect on that.”
The visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state came days after the FBI search for classified documents at Mr. Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida, divided GOP leaders about how to respond to the agency’s actions.
Mr. Pence made it clear where he stood in the debate.
“Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police,” Mr. Pence said in response to a question at a “Politics and Eggs” breakfast at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, according to CBS.
Mr. Pence also demanded more transparency from Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice about the raid, and to do it now.
Mr. Pence‘s comments distance him from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and other Republicans who have railed against the agency after Mr. Trump’s residence was searched by federal agents.
“DEFUND THE FBI!” Mrs. Greene wrote on Twitter. Mr. Gosar said, “We must destroy the FBI. We must save America.”
Mrs. Greene also is selling “Defund the FBI” baseball hats on her website.
On the flip side, Mr. Pence’s stance aligns him with others in the party such as Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas.
“I’m impressed Democrats finally got us to say, ‘Defund the FBI,’” Mr. Crenshaw told Axios. “That makes you look unserious when you start talking like that.”
Asked whether he would testify before the Jan. 6 committee if he was invited, Mr. Pence said, “I’d consider it,” according to WMUR, the local ABC affiliate.
“It would be unprecedented in history for a vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill,” he said. “But as I said, I don’t want to prejudge. If ever any formal invitation [was] rendered to us, we’d give it due consideration.”
Mr. Pence‘s visit to New Hampshire is adding to the growing sense that he is laying the foundation for a 2024 presidential run.
He is slated to return to Iowa, traditionally the first stop in the nomination process, later this week to stop by the state fair and attend a house party on behalf of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.