Former Vice President Mike Pence announced this Saturday that he is withdrawing from the electoral race for the White House for 2024, during his participation in a traditional Republican meeting held in Las Vegas.
"I come to tell you that it has become clear to me that it is not my time," Pence said in a surprising twist in his speech before the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) that brings together influential party donors.
"I have decided to suspend my campaign for president," he said.
"To the American people, I say it is not my time, but it is still your time," Pence added.
Pre-candidate Nikki Haley, who addressed the audience shortly after, opened her speech with words of appreciation for Pence.
"He is a good man, who fought for the United States and for Israel, and we are indebted to him," said Washington's former ambassador to the United Nations.
Neither Donald Trump, alongside whom Pence served as vice president, nor Governor Ron DeSantis, who spoke afterwards, made any mention of the unexpected announcement.
Pence did not offer his support to any of the candidates for the party's presidential nomination in his speech that ended with an emotional ovation.
The Republican, who had just 3.8% voting intention in his party according to the portal fivethirtyeight.com, dedicated most of his speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition to express his support for Israel in its war against Hamas.
"We must stand firm with Israel," Pence said earlier.
"All of us who are with Israel know that Israel has no choice but to crush Hamas," he added. "So
"The United States must stand with Israel today and tomorrow, and through every day of fighting until Hamas is destroyed once and for all."
- "Good against evil" -
The eight Republican candidates arrived in Las Vegas to speak to potential donors who hoped to hear how the rhetoric of support for Israel would translate in practice in an eventual new Republican administration in 2024.
«The conflict between Israel and Hamas is not a conflict between equal sides. "It's a fight between civilization and barbarism," Trump said.
The former president drew applause by promising to defend Israel "like no one has ever done."
DeSantis, second in the Republican polls, warned about an anti-Semitic escalation in American universities, defending a legislative offensive, in addition to an economic blockade against study houses, and immigration measures against foreign students.
«This is about good versus evil. "You are either with Israel, or you are with the people who slaughter women and children and the elderly and kidnap them," said, on her side, the president of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel. Saturday.
"We need cultural chemotherapy to fight this cancer," said Senator Scott.
«A federal subsidy for education is not a right, it is a privilege. "That foreign students can study here is not a right, it is a privilege."
This year, with the escalation in the Middle East following the attack by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Israel on October 7, the security of the event was reinforced with extraordinary measures and a wide deployment of police and troops.
The space served to pay tribute to the Israeli victims of the conflict.
The unprecedented attack by Hamas left more than 1,400 dead in Israel, say its authorities, who claim that the Islamist group is holding some 230 hostages in the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas Ministry of Health already said in its latest report this Saturday that 7,703 people, mainly civilians, died in the Israeli bombings.