Vice President Mike Pence attempted to quell rumors that he is preparing for his own 2020 presidential bid after the New York Times included Pence among the field of Republicans positioning themselves to challenge Trump.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) August 6, 2017
Key quote from Pence’s official statement on the matter:”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.”
But neither laughable nor absurd should be considered synonymous with “false.” One notices an appeal to the MAGA crowd with the allusion to “fake news.” But the real news is that Mike Pence, not unlike President Trump remains on a seemingly endless campaign trail. The vice president has his own PAC and and he’s hired a top-level fundraiser. Per the New York times article on the matter, frightened Republican donors have been quietly assured that Mike Pence would run in 2020 in the event that President Trump cannot. No details yet on why exactly GOP insiders think there’s a good possibility that Trump will be out of the field altogether by 2020.
It is unclear how Mike Pence, GOP leaders, or donors find him a tenable challenger. Governor John Kasich (OH) immediately distanced himself from then-candidate Trump and has remained a critic. Kasich would not be touched by any indictments within the Trump administration, nor any impact Donald Trump’s historically low job approval ratings may have on the 2018 midterms. None of that can be said about Mike Pence. The vice president will be stained by every Trump scandal.
Governor Kasich also has the advantage of having faced off against Trump so he wouldn’t be shocked or awed by anything Trump might say or do in a re-election bid. Whether Trump can or cannot seek re-election remains to be seen, but Pence’s own interest in 2020 is not “fake news.”