Former Vice President Mike Pence will be in Des Moines Saturday morning for a foreign policy discussion.
The presumptive GOP presidential candidate will be joined by former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who recently dropped out of the Republican presidential sweepstakes and whose former chief of staff is wanted by the FBI.
The “Bastion Institute Conversation” begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the River Center in Des Moines. It’s hosted by the Bastion Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that “strives to bring together some of the brightest minds across the country to discuss the path toward strengthening America’s leadership and standing on the international stage,” according to the organization’s website.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) will again moderate the discussion, as she did for last week’s Bastion Institute discussion with former Republican South Carolina Governor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. Haley declared her candidacy for the GOP nomination last month.
Pence, who is mulling a run for the White House, is returning to Iowa — the first-in-the-nation-caucus state — after his first trip earlier this week to New Hampshire, the kickoff GOP primary state.
Pence trails his old boss, former President Donald Trump, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a recent Des Moines Register poll. Just 17 percent of Iowa Republicans had a “mostly favorable view” of Pence, while 80 percent had a “very favorable” or “mostly favorable” opinion of Trump. DeSantis was a close second, at 75 percent.
The former vice president will be joined by Hogan, who recently announced he will not seek the GOP presidential nomination. The former two-term Maryland governor, however, isn’t closing the door on a third-party run.
Meanwhile, the FBI was searching for Hogan’s former chief of staff, Rory McGrath after he failed to appear in a Baltimore court on criminal charges of wire fraud, fraud and embezzlement. McGrath had pleaded not guilty. Hogan has repeatedly denied knowing or approving of a suspect severance payment negotiated by McGrath with a quasi-government agency before McGrath briefly became Hogan’s aide.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Mike Pence” by Mike Pence.