Mike Pence is one of the persons who is intimately familiar with Donald Trump‘s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
As you may know, Trump spent weeks lobbying his Vice President to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, allegedly calling Pence a “p***sy” and threatening to cut ties if Pence didn’t come through.
Later, during a rally before the January 6 insurgency, Trump addressed the audience, “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so.”
And, “All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people,” and “Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a, a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution,” he said.
He droned on, “Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.”
When Pence refused to do anything other than certify Biden’s victory, a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, yelling “hang Mike Pence!” and requiring the V.P. to be evacuated to a secure area owing to very serious threats on his life.
Pence, for his part, has been strangely understanding about his former boss inciting a throng that loudly called for his death—which Trump subsequently said Pence deserved—saying merely that he doesn’t believe he and the ex-president would ever see “eye to eye” about the events of that day.
So it becomes doubtful that, if pressed, the former V.P., who remains strangely subservient to Trump—and probably wants his followers’ votes in 2024—would reveal what he knows about the events before, during, and after January 6, 2021, with the committee examining the subject. However, it seems that he is comfortable with others close to him doing so!
According to three individuals familiar with the situation, Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, is collaborating with the January 6 committee, which is “a significant development that will give investigators insight from one of the highest-ranking Trump officials.
” According to CNN, Short “remains one of Pence’s closest aides,” although it is unclear if his involvement with the committee is sanctioned by Pence. Short, crucially, can offer a personal account of numerous instances under investigation by the House inquiry. Short, for example, attended an Oval Office meeting on January 4 in which Trump and attorney John Eastman attempted to persuade the V.P. to postpone Biden’s election certification.
Short reportedly dismissed Eastman’s thesis that Pence might prevent Biden from winning, telling author David Drucker that the six-point strategy Eastman devised to convince Pence was “boneheaded analysis.”
Pence has always had presidential ambitions and has followed the traditional path to the White House, but acting as Trump’s running mate has likely killed him all chance of ever winning the Republican nomination.
To better position himself for a presidential run, the Indiana Republican followed Dan Quayle’s advice and left Congress for a gubernatorial campaign, and his vice-presidential tenure should have set him up as a strong contender — except he served under a president who turned the GOP into a personality cult centered around the historically unpopular former reality TV star.
“He stood by while the party was actively changed by Trump, and now it’s not interested in politicians like him anymore,” said anti-Trump Republican strategist Sarah Longwell.
Pence hasn’t said whether he’ll fight Trump, whose followers wanted him to be hanged for refusing to try to overturn Trump’s election loss, but he’s acting as if he doesn’t expect the twice-impeached one-term president to risk another defeat.
“Trump won’t run,” said Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly. “He’ll continue talking about it; he may even declare, but he will not run, and the reason is he simply cannot be seen as a loser.”
To have a chance at the 2024 nomination, the former vice president would need to establish a coalition of evangelical Christians, cultural conservatives, and mainstream Republicans, but Longwell believes Pence has a major problem.
“Pence doesn’t do well with anybody,” Longwell said.
Voters wrinkle their noses when she says his name, expressing their displeasure.
“Not interested,” Longwell said.
Pence recently made headlines when Trump stated that he would not deny that he called Pence a “pussy” for certifying Biden as president.
Trump went so far as to contact Vice President Mike Pence on January 6 as he was leaving his home to monitor vote verification.
“You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Trump reportedly said, according to two people familiar with the conversation, “or you can go down in history as a pussy.”
In a March 18 interview with ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl, Trump was asked if the allegation was accurate, and he didn’t refute the remarks.
“I wouldn’t dispute it,” he told Karl. Karl responded: “Really?”
The former one-term president repeated his statement: “I wouldn’t dispute it.”
Karl’s next book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” will provide a more comprehensive account of what occurred during the tumultuous post-election period.
Trump has hinted at a presidential run in 2024 several times since the January events, putting him on a collision course with former Vice President Joe Biden if both men decide to run.
In a recent interview with Fox News, the former president said that he and Pence had a “very good relationship,” but that he was “disappointed with Mike on one item,” a subtle allusion to the former vice president’s unwillingness to overturn the Electoral College certification.
Trump maintained this topic in his interview with Karl, saying that Pence could have used his position to challenge the results and calling Pence’s actions a “tragic mistake.”
“He could have — well, the people were very angry,” Trump said. “If you know a vote is fraudulent, right, how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?”
When Karl asked if Trump would still be in the White House if Pence had vetoed the certification, Trump said he believed he would.
“I think we would have won, yeah,” he said.
The former president, on the other hand, was split on whether he could “forgive” Pence.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Because I picked him. I like him, I still like him, but I don’t know that I can forgive him.”