Mike Pence Plays to the G.O.P. Base From a Times Stage

NEW YORK — Former Vice President Mike Pence leaned into Republican talking points on Wednesday about Elon Musk and Disney while walking a familiar fine line on his former boss, delivering a message seemingly geared toward conservatives who will decide whether he is a viable presidential contender in 2024.

Appearing at The Times’s DealBook Summit in New York, Mr. Pence was repeatedly pressed by Andrew Ross Sorkin, the founder of DealBook, to talk about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and the character of former President Donald J. Trump. He demurred.

Even as he repeated his belief that Mr. Trump is not an antisemite, he again condemned Mr. Trump for hosting Nick Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite and racist, at a recent dinner.

“President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, a Holocaust denier, a seat at the table,” Mr. Pence said.

He defended the role he had played on Jan. 6, when Mr. Trump’s supporters called for his hanging after he had refused to overturn the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as president.

And he said that he had never seen “evidence of widespread fraud that would change the outcome” of the 2020 presidential election.

When asked whether Mr. Trump should face an indictment by the Justice Department, he frowned on the scenario.

“I’m not sure that taking bad advice from lawyers is a violation of criminal law,” he said. “We see too many cases in third world countries where the incoming administration prosecutes a prior administration. That is not an image I want to resonate for the United States.”

He also doubled down on comments he made earlier in the day during a Fox News appearance about Mr. Musk, saying he had faith in Mr. Musk’s overhaul of Twitter and its content guidelines, which had led the company under its previous ownership to banish Mr. Trump after the Jan. 6 attack.

Mr. Pence, who is weighing a run for president, took a swipe at Disney during his remarks as well. He sought to correlate its stock losses and a recent executive shake-up with the company’s criticism of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The measure prohibits classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in some elementary school grades.

“I think Bob Iger’s recent statements, coming into lead Disney again, prove that the antidote to woke America is America,” he said, referring to Mr. Iger’s return as Disney’s chief executive.

He also mentioned his new book, “So Help Me God,” no fewer than seven times — enough to make it a punchline.

“As you can tell, if I haven’t mentioned, I have a book,” Mr. Pence joked.

“We got that,” Mr. Sorkin said. “We are good.”

Mr. Pence underlined, as he often had before, that he was proud of the work done by the Trump administration. But, he noted, “It obviously didn’t end well.”

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