Pence inks two-book deal, launches political advocacy group

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Former Vice President Mike Pence has a book deal. His autobiography, currently untitled, is scheduled to come out in 2023.

In addition, the former Indiana governor on Wednesday launched an advocacy group, Advancing American Freedom, which will promote the Trump administration’s record and could serve as a springboard for a Pence presidential run in 2024.

Book deal

According to Pence’s agent, David Vigliano, “all major publishers” competed to land Pence in a book deal. He said the agreement was worth “well into seven figures.” A top editor from a rival publishing house confirmed that amount. The editor was not authorized to discuss negotiations and asked not to be identified.

CNN reported the deal was for two books and was worth somewhere in the range of $3 million to $4 million.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to tell the story of my life in public service to the American people, from serving in Congress, to the Indiana Governor’s office and as Vice President of the United States,” Pence said in a written statement. “I look forward to working with the outstanding team at Simon & Schuster to invite readers on a journey from a small town in Indiana to Washington, DC.”

Simon & Schuster said it also signed Pence to a second book but did not immediately provide details. Pence is the first major Trump administration official to have an announced deal since the president left office in January, although former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are among those reportedly working on books.

At this time in 2017, former President Barack Obama; former first lady Michelle Obama; former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden; and former Secretary of State John Kerry were among the recently departed Obama administration officials who had agreed to book deals. Several top publishing executives have told The Associated Press that they were not interested in a Trump memoir, citing the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by Trump’s supporters. Publishers also have expressed wariness about other members of the Trump administration, worrying about a backlash from readers, authors and employees.

A Pence memoir will likely be subject to similar tensions the former Vice President has faced since he refused then-President Donald Trump’s demands that he help overturn the election results. Among Democrats and others who opposed Trump, Pence is widely seen as Trump’s loyal ally. Meanwhile, Trump supporters, and Trump himself, denounced him for not intervening Jan. 6 in Congress’ formal certification of Biden’s presidential victory.

The certification — which Pence had no power to change — was delayed for hours after hundreds of Trump supporters, some chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Simon & Schuster Vice President and Publisher Dana Canedy said that Pence’s book would be “revelatory,” without specifically saying whether he would address the events of Jan. 6.

“Vice President Pence’s life and work, his journey as a Christian, the challenges and triumphs he has faced, and the lessons he has learned, tells an American story of extraordinary public service during a time of unrivaled public interest in our government and politics,” Canedy said. “His revelatory autobiography will be the definitive book on one of the most consequential presidencies in American history.”

The signing of Pence comes three months after Simon & Schuster dropped a book by Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, who had supported the rally in Washington that preceded the overrunning of the Capitol. Simon & Schuster has published several anti-Trump books over the past two years, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s “The Room Where It Happened” and niece Mary Trump’s “Too Much and Never Enough.” Its other authors have included Trump supporter Sean Hannity; the candidate Trump defeated in 2016, Hillary Clinton, and Trump himself.

Advocacy group

Pence’s book deal continues the former vice president’s re-emergence since January. On Wednesday, he launched Advancing American Freedom, which will work as a counterpoint to the Biden agenda.

The advisory board for the group includes anti-abortion advocate Marjorie Dannenfelser and Ed Meese, who was President Ronald Reagan’s attorney general, and such former Trump administration officials as Conway, economic adviser Larry Kudlow and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The new group is one of several launched in recent weeks by former Trump aides. Shunned by corporate big money gigs, they are instead opening their own shops and embracing Trump’s legacy as they seek to capitalize on his continued popularity with the Republican base.

They include Trump’s former senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, the architect of polarizing immigration policies, who on Wednesday announced the creation of America First Legal, a group that Miller envisions as an American Civil Liberties Union for conservatives.

In a statement, Trump lauded Miller and his group. The former president, whose administration was bombarded with lawsuits, said that conservatives “badly need to catch up” and “turn the tables” in court and that Miller’s group would “fill this critical void.”

He also acknowledged Pence’s group, telling The Washington Examiner, which first reported its launch, “Nice to see Mike highlighting some of our many achievements!”

Pence’s unpaid advisory board is a nod to his broader effort to position himself as someone who can appeal to various parts of the party.

A Pence aide said the group, which is widely seen a part of the groundwork for a potential 2024 run, will focus on a broad range of issues, from school choice to energy independence to foreign affairs. It will likely target its initial efforts, including direct mail and media appearances, on the influx of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s proposed corporate tax increases.

At the same time, Pence is expected to ramp up his public schedule, beginning with his first public speech in South Carolina this month.

Pence’s status as a potential Trump heir was thrown into question when he refused to go along with Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Congress. Trump continues to flirt with running again himself and will speak this weekend in Florida, where members of the Republican National Committee will be meeting.

Other groups dedicated to promoting Trump’s agenda have also launched or are in the works.

Russell Vought, who led Trump’s Office of Management and Budget, recently created the Center for American Restoration, a think tank dedicated to advancing the former administration’s agenda. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has his own American Cornerstone Institute. And Kudlow is teaming up with Trump’s former domestic policy adviser Brooke Rollins on their own not-for-profit, Politico has reported.

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