Mike Pence

Democrats Are Preparing to Run Against Pence In 2020

BuzzFeed: “Democrats are already preparing for a possible 2020 presidential bid by Vice President Mike Pence, with a major group dedicating staff — including on the ground in Indiana — to dig up dirt on him, amid rumblings that Pence is positioning himself for a run.”

“The vice president has denied having intentions to run, but he has been meeting with top donors and has set up a leadership PAC that has already raised $540,000, as President Trump continues to make comments on race and other issues that are making Republicans increasingly uncomfortable.”

For members: Trump’s Re-Election May Depend Upon Leaving the GOP

If Trump Goes Down, So Will Pence

Ronald Klain: “This is the vice-presidential prisoner’s dilemma: There is no distance he can achieve, no political support he can muster, no congressional chits he can collect, no donor base he can assemble that can survive the fallout from a failed presidency. A vice president is either implicated as being in the loop or looks foolish if he insists that he was out of it. There’s too much video of any vice president praising, promoting and partnering with his boss to say, ‘President who?'”

“A vice president’s record behind the scenes in the administration is, by definition, obscure to voters. As a result, for better or worse, a vice president must run on the president’s record: If Trump’s record is bad enough to prevent him from running in 2020, it will flatten Pence as well.”

“If Pence seeks the presidency in 2020 because Trump has been forced out of office, or pressured not to run for reelection due to unpopularity, he will suffer the same fate as Hubert Humphrey in 1968, Ford in 1976, Walter Mondale in 1984 and Dan Quayle in 2000: defeat. Nothing Pence is doing now will break him out of a political imprisonment of his own creation.”

Could Pence Survive a Trump Collapse?

Ryan Lizza: “I reached out to Ron Klain, Gore’s chief of staff when he was Vice-President, to ask about how Gore dealt with the complexities of serving loyally as Vice-President for someone who might be booted out of office. He was reluctant to compare Pence’s situation with Gore’s, but he did, however, make it clear that any attempt by Pence to escape Trump’s shadow would be met with a withering argument from Democrats.”

Said Klain: “Over all, I would say that whenever Mike Pence runs for office in the future, the liability he will carry from this period is not how he distanced himself from Trump but, rather, how he deepened his ties to the President. In 2020, at the end of a failed, one-term Trump Presidency, no amount of PAC money or donor meetings will insulate Vice-President Pence from the political fallout from being Donald Trump’s transition chief, Capitol Hill liaison, right-hand man, and principal surrogate.”

What If Mike Pence Becomes President?

Jason Zengerle: “No matter the circumstances of Trump’s exit — whether he leaves early or not — Pence will inherit a hangover. Recall Gerald Ford’s efforts, in the wake of Watergate, to declare that America’s long national nightmare is over.’ Pence might need to do something similar… If Trump were to resign or be forced from office, Republicans would struggle in the long shadow of scandal and turmoil — and nobody would be more enveloped in it than Pence himself.”

“Consensus holds that Pence would want to surround himself with new staff — particularly Republican heavyweights, aides and operatives of the stature and pedigree that Trump wasn’t able to lure to the White House…. Surprisingly, one high-profile survivor might be Kellyanne Conway, who served on Pence’s gubernatorial campaign as a pollster. At one point she even urged him to run for president in 2016, and later she talked him up to Trump during the veep search.”

Pence Denies He’s Getting Ready for 2020 Run

Vice President Mike Pence declared his loyalty to President Trump and denounced a New York Times article suggesting that he was positioning himself to run for president in 2020 if Mr. Trump does not seek a second term, the New York Times reports.

Said Pence: “Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration.”

He added: “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.”

Pence Makes Push to Get Health Bill to the Floor

Vice President Mike Pence is making an all out push for the Senate to get the health care bill onto the floor next week, Jonathan Swan reports.

“The White House needs to convince two conservative senators, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, to vote to allow the Senate to debate the health care bill. We expect Pence to leverage his deep connections in the conservative movement to build pressure on these senators over these crucial few days.”

Pence Courts Big Donors at Private Dinners

Vice President Mike Pence “has been courting scores of the country’s most influential donors, corporate executives and conservative political leaders over the past several months in a series of private gatherings and one-on-one conversations,” the New York Times reports.

“The centerpiece of the effort is a string of dinners held every few weeks at the vice president’s official residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory in Washington. Mr. Pence and his wife, Karen, have presided over at least four such soirées, and more are in the works. Each has drawn roughly 30 to 40 guests.”

“The guests and their families collectively donated or helped raise millions of dollars to support the Trump-Pence ticket in 2016, and some are viewed in Republican finance circles as likely supporters for two new groups created to advocate for Mr. Trump, Mr. Pence, their legislative agenda and congressional allies.”

Pence Stays In the Shadows

Politico: “From the moment last July when Trump picked Pence as his running mate, through the first five months of this administration, the vice president has been all but invisible in the parade of palace intrigue stories detailing the rivalries, alliances, backstabbing, self-promoting and stock-watching inside Trump’s reality-TV style presidency. That is no accident: Pence made clear to everyone around him when he was picked, and again at the outset of the administration, that the spotlight belongs to Trump. Leaking, speaking out of turn or doing anything that could be perceived as upstaging the president would not be tolerated… Unsurprisingly, the vice president declined to comment for this story.”

“His inconspicuousness is engineered to keep all eyes on the president. But it’s also necessary to guard against whispers that he, not Trump, is running the show—a narrative fueled both by Pence’s standing in the party and by the fact that he has been empowered like no vice president before him to establish, sell and execute the administration’s agenda. Five months into the Trump era—and less than a year since he was plucked from a thorny situation in Indiana—Pence, once an endangered small-state governor, has become the most popular Republican in the country and accumulated an astonishing amount of power.”

Washington Post: Pence’s balancing act as Trump’s No. 2 shows signs of strain amid White House turmoil.

Pence Lawyers Up for Russia Investigation

Vice President Mike Pence “has hired outside legal counsel to help with both congressional committee inquiries and the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia,” the Washington Post reports.

“Pence’s decision comes less than a month after Trump hired his own private attorney, Marc E. Kasowitz, to help navigate the investigations related to the Russia probe, and a day after the Washington Post reported that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is now widening his investigation to examine whether the president attempted to obstruct justice.”

Imagining President Pence

Clare Malone: “The events that precede Pence’s swearing-in would no doubt shape his tenure in ways that can’t be predicted. But the make and measure of a man is not wholly defined by his circumstances. Pence is a political figure of specific principle and ideology, and his past may give us hints about the president he would be. A reading of his political history reveals a devoted adherent to an unbending conservative worldview but also a man chastened by the realities of governing a society undergoing profound change. Above all, it shows a political survivor, attuned to the delicate dynamics of a capricious White House — and perhaps patient enough to be playing the long game of the Trump presidency.”

What Trump Should Be Worried About

Mike Allen: “Beyond his base voters, Trump has an even bigger potential problem looming with his base in Congress. While Republican lawmakers won’t say it publicly, it’s widely known if they could pick between President Pence and President Trump, the Vice President would win 90% of the vote among the GOP.”

“Bill Clinton benefited from a large number of true fans and believers among elected Democrats when he survived impeachment. Trump has few authentic fans or loyalists in Congress. So if things take a turn for the worse, GOP flight could come fast and furious — since the end result would be President Pence.”

Time for President Pence?

Dana Millbank: “Trump shows no ability to correct course, to pull himself out of a self-destructive spiral. It may be premature to talk of impeachment or resignation, but Trump’s path is unsustainable. Republicans in Congress would be sensible to start thinking about an endgame, and the former Indiana governor may be the their best hope — and all of ours.”

“Many liberals correctly call Pence a doctrinaire conservative, particularly on gay rights and other social issues. He’ll be forever tarnished because of his role in legitimizing Trump for mainstream conservatives, a calculation based on the vain hope that he could influence Trump. He has embarrassed himself in office by parroting Trump’s untruths and cheerleading for the boss.”

“But Pence is, at core, a small-d democrat, not a demagogue. The world would be safer with him in charge. We would still have fierce divisions about the nation’s direction. But Pence, in the nearly two decades I’ve known him, has been an honorable man. Opponents can disagree with him yet sleep well knowing he’s unlikely to be irrational.”