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Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech at the National Student Leadership Conference in Chicago Wednesday, where he showered the crowd with his praise for the president, and encouraged students in the audience to become leaders like him.

Pence's advice on being a leader like Trump:

  • Listen and be humble: The president "leads by asking questions and he listens," reflecting his "humility."
  • Character is key: "People follow people they respect... you must aspire to be men and women of character."
  • Serve for others: "I urge you to be servant leaders... serve not by selfish ambitions, but for others."
  • Accept the hierarchy: "Recognize those who have been placed above you... and learn from them."

Timing: His extensive applause of Trump comes amid reports that Pence has been distancing himself from Trump as he falls deeper into the scandals involving the Russia investigation. Meanwhile, Axios' Mike Allen reported this morning that most Republicans in town privately prefer Pence to Trump.

Other noteworthy quotes:

  • "Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, we are in the midst of a great national renewal. We are seeing the return of security and prosperity for our nation and our people."
  • "In a word, we are living through the restoration of America as the leader of the free world — under the leadership of President Donald Trump. At this very moment, we are seeing the bold leadership of this American president on the world stage."
  • "President Trump knows that security is the foundation of prosperity — for America, is for our allies, and across the wider world. And here at home, our President has been fighting since Day One to get our economy moving again and put America back to work."

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.