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WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Mike Pence joked about his own religious devotion and that of former President Donald Trump's in a speech at a Washington press dinner.
Pence said he invited Trump to Bible study. "He really liked the passages about the smiting and perishing of thine enemies. As he put it, 'Ya know, Mike, there's some really good stuff in here,'" he said.
The potential GOP presidential candidate then poked fun at his former boss' legal troubles. "Honestly, I learned a lot working beside Donald Trump, like about subpoenas for instance," he said.
"I read that some of those classified documents they found in Mar-a-Lago were actually stuck in the president's Bible," Pence said, referring to the FBI's August 2022 search of Trump's home. "Which proves he had absolutely no idea they were there."
Pence said he wasn't "some kind of religious nut. Just ask my sons, Jedidiah, Obadiah and Zacharia. It's true. I'm a man of deep faith. In fact, my preferred pronouns are thou and thine."
In another part of his speech last week, Pence jokingly compared himself to another Republican who ran for president.
"I always wanted to be the bad boy, the rebel type, the hell-raiser. You know, someone like Mitt Romney," he said.
The Gridiron Club dinner is a white-tie gathering of Washington's political and journalistic elite and is known for its comedic atmosphere. A member of the Republican and Democratic parties are invited to speak, and Pence was the GOP keynote.
I always wanted to be the bad boy, the rebel type, the hell-raiser. You know, someone like Mitt Romney.
Later in the speech Pence changed his tone, turning to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the "one thing I haven't joked about."
Pence said Trump's "reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day," according to The Associated Press. He added that history would "hold Donald Trump accountable."
Pence reiterated what he wrote in his memoir about that day, saying, "President Trump was wrong, I had no right to overturn the election." Trump asked Pence not to certify the 2020 electoral college votes in Congress.
Trump was impeached by the House a second time in 2021, after he had already left office, but the Senate did not convict him for his role in the Capitol riot.
Pence said he has pledged to "never, ever" downplay what took place at the Capitol that day. "For as long as I live I will never, ever diminish the injuries sustained, the lives lost, or the heroism of law enforcement on that tragic day," he said.