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GOP presidential hopefuls talk at Republican Jewish Coalition event

Big-name Republicans who could be on the 2024 presidential ticket are in Las Vegas this weekend to speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Annual Leadership Meeting at The Venetian.

Although the 2022 midterms are not over — with states still canvassing votes and Georgia’s U.S. Senate race scheduled for a runoff in December — Democrats and Republicans have started preparing for the 2024 presidential elections.

Republican figureheads toying with the idea of running against former President Donald Trump, who on Tuesday announced his third campaign for president, spoke to hundreds of attendees about their visions for the country, the importance of the country’s alliance with Israel and how the Republican Party can be more successful in future elections.

“From the heartland to the coastland, America stands with Israel,” said former Vice President Mike Pence at the meeting, where every year Jewish leaders, students and others gather from all over the country to talk about issues important to the Jewish community and connect it with Republican decisionmakers.

While criticizing President Joe Biden for planning to sign a new nuclear deal with Iran, Pence said, “If the Biden Administration signs a new nuclear deal with the mullahs of Tehran, I promise you the next American president will be a Republican, and the next American president will tear up that deal on day one.”

Pence has not announced his candidacy, but he is giving his bid for president “prayerful consideration,” he said on ABC’s “World News Tonight.” On Friday night Pence talked about the Trump-Pence Administration’s accomplishments, such as signing an executive order to fight antisemitism and opening the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

Pence retold biblical stories about how Jewish people prevailed and how they remain strong 2,000 years later, receiving a standing ovation from the audience.

“I believe the best days for America and our most cherished ally Israel are yet to come, and we will walk together in a boundless future of freedom and inspire all mankind, so help us God,” said Pence, who was also signing copies of his book, “So Help Me God,” before the event.

Trump’s Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a potential candidate for the 2024 presidential election, said a “personality” and “celebrity” who tweets is not what the Republican Party needs. It needs someone with competence and character to protect core values and “present the conservative case,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo called on Republicans to “actually do the hard work and make the hard argument about why the conservative ideas deliver good outcomes for every single American.”

He worries about American institutions failing, such as churches and synagogues, whose attendance remain low post-COVID-19.

“These institutions are central to the well being of our nation, the capacity to each of us to practice our own faith here and to protect religious freedom,” Pompeo said.

Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., talked about pressing for the importance of the U.S.-Israel Alliance.

“I know that the U.S. and Israel share an unbreakable bond, and as a man of faith, I believe that the fates and the fortunes of our two nations are inextricably intertwined,” Hagerty said.

Hagerty criticized the administration of President Joe Biden for launching an FBI investigation against Israel. The FBI is investigating the death of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while covering an Israeli military raid in May, according to Axios.

Hagerty also gave examples of cooperation and peace that the Trump administration pushed, such as signing the Abraham Accords, which was a series of normalization statements among Israel, the U.S., United Arab Emirates and Bahrain ratified in September 2020.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland also spoke at the event about his accomplishments, including getting a Democratic state legislature to cut taxes, prohibiting the state government from entering into any contracts with businesses that engage in a boycott of Israel, and enacting a Refund the Police initiative.

Hogan, who recently said Trump cost the Republican Party the past three elections, is eyeing a presidential bid in 2024, according to The Washington Post.

The Republican Party has lost the popular vote of seven of the past eight elections, and it is time for new leadership in the Republican Party, Hogan said, adding the party is “desperately in need of a course correction.”

“It’s time for the Republican Party to get back to winning again,” Hogan said.

On Saturday, the lineup of speakers include Florida Sen. Rick Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Trump will speak via livestream at the event. Kellyanne Conway, former counselor to Trump, and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer will appear in the afternoon, and Saturday evening Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will speak.

The Republican Jewish Coalition, based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1985 and works to connect the Jewish community with Republican leaders. The coalition has a legislative affairs program that lobbies and advises U.S. leaders on important issues, and it has a political action committee that donates to candidates who “reflect our priorities and principles,” according to its website.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on Twitter.

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