Vice President Mike Pence and his staff have spent pretty much the entire week desperately trying not to make Donald Trump look like the insane grifter he is. But that’s not stopping him from being humiliated with rumors in the press that his fealty to Trump might not be enough to save his spot on the ticket in 2020.
According to Yahoo News’ Tom LoBianco, who has a forthcoming book about Pence, “tensions have been mounting” between Trump and Pence, who’ve always been a bit of an odd couple. LoBianco writes that Trump asked aides about potentially replacing Pence on the 2020 ticket following the GOP’s heavy losses last November, and again “asked their thoughts on Pence” during his vacation last month at his golf course in New Jersey.
In addition, there have apparently been rumors that the crack team known as Javanka want to replace Pence on the ticket with a woman to “help win back the suburbs.” A potential candidate for that could have been former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, but, well, that’s probably not going to happen.
Notably, no one from either Trump or Pence’s side would confirm any of this on the record, and the Trump campaign flat-out denied it. “Mike Pence is an exemplary vice president and has played a valuable role in the administration. He will also be a key asset as President Trump’s running mate in 2020,” Trump 2020 communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement to Yahoo News. “At the staff level, everyone works together as one seamless team with a singular focus: the reelection of President Trump and Vice President Pence in November 2020.”
It’s also worth noting that chatter about incumbent presidents replacing their vice presidents on the re-election ticket almost always happens—just ask Joe Biden—and it almost never actually happens. On the other hand, shit like this is really funny to me:
One former adviser to Trump and Pence noted that Trump would more warmly embrace the vice president in public if Pence simply announced that he wasn’t planning a run for president. Trump, the former adviser noted, hates aides who display more ambition than him.
“All of this would go away if he announced he wasn’t running for president in 2024,” the former adviser said.
Operating under the assumption that Trump wins in 2020, he wouldn’t even be able to run in 2024. For Pence, a true-believer right-wing social conservative who won’t even eat dinner with women who aren’t his wife, what use was selling his soul to a devil like Trump if there isn’t 2024 frontrunner status waiting for him at the end of that road?
For now, at least, it appears that Pence’s humiliation will continue unabated. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.