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Karen Pence says no candidate "who puts himself above the Constitution" should be president

Karen Pence talks 2024 race, new book
Karen Pence says no candidate "who puts himself above the Constitution" should be president 06:58

Karen Pence, the former second lady of the United States, was asked on "CBS Mornings" Wednesday whether former President Donald Trump — who remains the Republican frontrunner in the 2024 presidential race — should be back in the White House. 

"I don't think anybody who puts himself above the Constitution should ever be president of the United States," Pence said.

Pence said her husband, former Vice President Mike Pence, and Trump governed as conservatives after they were elected to lead the country in 2016, but that Trump has since "stepped away" from "conservative foundations" — "and you see it in a lot of the things that he's been saying recently." This change, Karen Pence said, was a factor in her husband's decision to run for president himself in 2024.

"That was kind of the impetus for Mike saying, 'I think I need to run. I think I need to stand for those things that we did in the Trump-Pence administration because I'm a true conservative,' and he's been a conservative forever," said Pence. 

Mike Pence will be on stage Wednesday night at the Reagan Presidential Library in California for the second primary debate, joining six other candidates who are seeking the Republican nomination for president. Trump is skipping the debate and will instead speak in Detroit.

When questioned about Trump's enduring support among conservative Christians, Pence said it will be interesting to see how the upcoming election unfolds.

"I think if people start listening to the things that he's saying, they'll start to kind of question, 'Well, wait a minute. That's not what you said four or five years ago,'" she said.

In her new book, "When It's Your Turn to Serve: Experiencing God's Grace in His Calling for Your Life," which was released on Tuesday, Pence details her journey as a political spouse guided by her faith. She said she did not intend for it to be a political memoir, but aimed to inspire readers to serve when they feel a calling.

"If I had said no to a lot of the things that came my way, I would have missed out on so much," she said.

The book details her life and the initiatives she had as second lady of the U.S. and the first lady of Indiana. Only a page and a half of the book is dedicated to the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021, which took place as Mike Pence was in the midst of leading a joint session of Congress. The angry mob broke into the Capitol building to try to stop them from counting the 2020 Electoral College votes and affirming Joe Biden as president-elect. 

Pence said her husband has talked "extensively" about that day, and that she felt a sense of calm and purpose among her team during those moments.

"I felt such a sense of calm and peace … But at that moment, it's like the whole team had this sense of purpose. Like, 'Okay, we can't, we can't worry about everything else that's going on. Right now, we need to get us back in session. We need to finish our job. We need to certify this election," she said. 

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