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Woke War III: Pence & DeSantis Battle for Cancellation

Mike Pence
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Tina Nguyen
April 15, 2022

Mike Pence’s slow and grinding campaign to maybe-perhaps-possibly run for president in 2024 took a detour to the University of Virginia this week, where he gave a speech to the Reaganite student group Young Americans for Freedom. But other than winking again at his ambitions (“I’ll keep you posted,” he told a student), the actual content of his remarks—espousement of traditional conservative values, glowing praise of Zelensky, the importance of a G.O.P. House majority in the midterms, and so forth—was less notable than the manner in which his presence on campus unfolded. 

Upon hearing that Pence was coming to town, a cohort of U.V.A. students attempted to halt Pence’s address. “[F]or Pence, gay couples signify a ‘societal collapse,’ Black lives do not matter, transgender individuals and immigrants do not deserve protection and the pandemic should not be taken seriously,” students wrote in an op-ed published in the student paper, the Cavalier Daily, describing his words as “dangerous rhetoric.” So despite his platitudes and throwback staidness, Pence at least checked off one item on an ambitious Republican presidential candidate’s to-do-list: he got canceled!