Yesterday, the NYTimes ran a story suggesting that there are certain Republicans who see a weakness and are running a “shadow campaign” for the Presidency in 2020. Chief among those are Mike Pence, and the Times detailed a number of steps that Pence has made, potentially eyeing a run in 2020. While Pence has not been overt about it, his aides are making no bones about it:
Mr. Pence’s aides, however, have been less restrained in private, according to two people briefed on the conversations. In a June meeting with Al Hubbard, an Indiana Republican who was a top economic official in Mr. Bush’s White House, an aide to the vice president, Marty Obst, said that they wanted to be prepared to run in case there was an opening in 2020 and that Mr. Pence would need Mr. Hubbard’s help, according to a Republican briefed on the meeting. Reached on the phone, Mr. Hubbard declined to comment.
Mr. Ayers [Pence’s Chief of Staff] has signaled to multiple major Republican donors that Mr. Pence wants to be ready.
None of this sounds surprising to anyone who has watched the last six months unfold, as Donald Trump’s popularity continues to sink, setting Democrats up to potentially take back Congress in 2020.
Still, Mike Pence finds the suggestion that he’s trying to replace Donald Trump “laughable,” and he released a statement this morning meant for an audience of exactly one: Donald J. Trump:
“The American people know that I could not be more honored to be working side by side with a president who is making America great again. Whatever fake news may come our way, my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the president’s agenda and see him re-elected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd.”
We definitely totally believe you, Mr. Vice President!
Given his track record of angrily denying things that were later shown to be true, seems we're a go for Pence 2020. https://t.co/EMdwLXpHMR— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) August 6, 2017
But we understand why Pence would feel compelled to put out such a statement:
It's almost as if Pence works for a deeply insecure, vengeful man with poor impulse control who watches cable news 24/7 https://t.co/o46dzG694w— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) August 6, 2017
In other words:
shorter mike pence: im not running my own parallel campaign and you should donate to the pence 2020 committee to note your protest— Oliver Willis (@owillis) August 6, 2017
Pence might want to watch his back. Trump does not like even the hint of disloyalty, and if he isn’t careful, Steve Bannon is going to start a smear campaign similar to the one he is running against H.R. McMaster.
By transmitting this thru official White House channels, Team Pence sends the message Trump wasn't thrilled reading the Times today > pic.twitter.com/ksRVSzTbI4— Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti) August 6, 2017