OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign got some bad news this week as the first GOP presidential debate is just weeks away.
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, former President Donald Trump’s No. 2 indicated that he had yet to meet the individual donor threshold to qualify for the debate stage towards the end of August in an event to be hosted by Fox News in Milwaukee, Wis.
“I’m very humbled by the support around the country, which is one of the criteria,” Pence said when asked about the 40,000-donor requirement, according to The Hill. “But yes, having 40,000 individual donors, we’re literally working around the clock. Got about a month to go, I’m confident we will be there.”
To be eligible for the upcoming GOP presidential debate, candidates must meet specific polling and financial criteria. These criteria include having a minimum of 40,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors from 20 or more states or territories. In addition, candidates must pledge their support for the eventual Republican nominee, The Hill added.
When asked how close to the donor requirement he is, Pence responded, “We’re making incredible progress toward that goal. We’re not there yet, but, Dana, I promise you, when we know, you will know.”
“We’re not offering kickbacks. We’re not offering gift cards. We’re not even offering soccer tickets,” Pence said in reference to certain tactics being used by his 2024 GOP opponents, The Hill noted.
Pence was pinned down earlier this month during a GOP candidate forum in Iowa by former Fox News star Tucker Carlson and had difficulty answering a question about the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol incident.
Pence was attending a 2024 GOP presidential candidate forum hosted by Carlson called the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, when he was put on the spot with a blunt question about that fateful day that he initially declined to address directly.
Pence has run a campaign in which he has largely distanced himself from his former boss, though it hasn’t resonated with GOP voters year, based on polling.
At one point, Carlson gave the former VP the opportunity to speak to events on that fateful day that turned Trump, and many of Trump’s supporters, against him with a burning question that has been on the minds of many of the former president’s allies.
“I have to ask you, since you were a witness to and in some unintentional way a participant in one of the most widely covered events in American history, Jan. 6: What was that? Do you think that was an insurrection?” Carlson asked.
Pence took in a deep breath and sighed before first moving to thank the event’s organizers in what appeared to be a clear sign he was stalling.
“Can I just take a moment just to say thank you?” he asked before going on to mention some pro-life protections that were recently signed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.
But eventually, the former VP did get around to answering Carlson’s question.
“Now, as to that day, let me just say: All I know for sure, having lived through it at the Capitol, is that it was a tragic day,” Pence said.
He added: “I’ve never used the word ‘insurrection,’ Tucker, over the last two years. But it was a riot that took place at the Capitol that day.”
Pence went on to lament the “tragic loss of life” on that day, which led Carlson to interrupt him.
“When you say ‘the tragic loss of life,’ who are you referring to?” he asked.
The former VP said he was talking about Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed demonstrator who was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer in plainclothes as she attempted to crawl through the broken window of a door that led to the House chamber.