Current presidential candidate and former Vice President Mike Pence will come to Jackson on Aug. 19 to speak at the Mississippi Book Festival, according to the festival’s website.
The event’s website notes that Pence will speak with former U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper at 2:45 p.m. in Room 216 at the Capitol to discuss his recently published autobiography “So Help Me God.”
“We’re thrilled that he’ll come to visit us in Mississippi at this year’s Mississippi Book Festival,” Harper, who served with Pence in Congress, told Mississippi Today.
Harper said he intends to discuss the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol with Pence, who faced pressure from his ex-boss, former President Donald Trump, to abuse the vice president’s ceremonial role in certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“Vice President Pence and his families’ lives were in danger,” Harper said. “And I bring maybe a little interesting perspective in that when that happened, I was actually in the House chamber.”
The announcement of Pence’s Magnolia State visit comes at a time when Trump, his current opponent, is facing federal charges in connection to his role in the insurrection.
The annual festival is nonpartisan, and Harper, who represented central Mississippi in Congress for 10 years, said the former vice president is not planning to conduct any presidential campaign events during his visit.
“He is coming in special just for the book festival, and he’ll fly in and immediately fly out,” Harper said.
Pence has visited Mississippi before. He campaigned for Republican Gov. Tate Reeves in Biloxi during the 2019 statewide election cycle, and he visited the Magnolia State with former President Donald Trump to support U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s 2018 campaign during a special election.
Before being sworn in as vice president, Pence also spent Thanksgiving in Mississippi in 2016, where his son, a Marine, was stationed.
The Mississippi Book Festival is an annual event that takes place each summer in and around the state Capitol in downtown Jackson. The event’s leaders call it a “literary lawn party” that features panel discussions about literature, food, art and politics.