Mike Pence: Students protest Republican with Pride flags as he prepares 2024 run

former vice president Mike Pence

A mass of students walked out in protest at Mike Pence’s speech at Georgetown University yesterday.

The former vice-president had barely begun speaking when the protestors unveiled signs saying “reproductive rights are human rights” and waved Pride flags.

Outside the event, another group of protestors gathered and started chanting: “Hate has no home here.”

The event, hosted by Young America’s Foundation, bragged about how quickly it had been able to fill seats for Pence’s speech.

But rows of seats were left empty after the protestors departed once Pence started talking.

Young America’s Foundation posted clips of the protest and of Pence’s speech on social media, hoping to expose “the left’s radical agenda”.

But people quickly voiced messages of support for the peaceful way the protestors engaged with Pence, with one user saying: “They respectfully walked out. He disrespectfully called them out. For exercising choice. [Pence] really doesn’t like choice, does he?”

In his talk, the Indiana Republican hinted at a 2024 bid for the presidency, saying “there might be somebody else I prefer more”, when asked about supporting Trump in the next presidential election.

“All my focus has been on the midterm elections, and it’ll stay that way for the next 20 days.

“But after that, we’ll be thinking about the future. Ours and the nation’s. And, I’ll keep you posted. OK?”

Mike Pence has doubled down on his aggressive rollback on LGBT rights since he started campaigning for the midterm elections in November.

His “Freedom Agenda” would allow doctors to refuse to give someone gender-affirming healthcare, and give foster agencies the right to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Pence has also previously voiced support for conversion therapy. Despite claiming to no longer back it, when he campaigned for Congress in 2000 he proposed that “resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour”.