According to Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman (who is highly respected) President Trump hosted a 2020 strategy meeting on Monday, and Mike Pence was on the agenda. Apparently the president’s advisers are trying to get him to tell them if he would consider a new vice president.
Many people are doubtful that Donald Trump would replace Mike Pence when (and if) Trump runs for reelection in 2020. Pence supposedly brings Trump many votes from the right-wing Evangelical Christian voting block that is stridently anti-abortion and anti-gay.
But Sherman quoted one Trump adviser who said that members of the president’s team are “beginning to think about whether Mike Pence should be running again.” The reason for this, they say, is that polling shows the vice president “doesn’t add anything” to the ticket.
“Trump was presented with polling on Pence’s weakness. Inside Trump’s talks about dumping Pence in 2020, my latest.”
Trump was presented with polling on Pence’s weakness. Inside Trump’s talks about dumping Pence in 2020, my latest:https://t.co/psA8KaHkdA
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) December 5, 2018
This is not the first time the topic of a new vice presidential running mate for Trump has been publicly discussed. The New York Times last month published an article saying that “Trump had been privately asking advisers if Pence could be trusted, and that outside advisers have been pushing Nikki Haley to replace Pence.”
Concerning Haley, news broke on Wednesday also that the current United Nations Ambassador will be selling her home in South Carolina and staying in New York City to write a book. Writing a book is something people do before launching a presidential campaign. But Haley promised to not run against Trump. She never said she would not run with him.
Haley is seen as an up-and-comer within the GOP so the idea of her running as Trump’s VP candidate does make some sense.
But is this really what’s going on?
Other people have speculated that Trump and his advisers are feeding media speculation about replacing Pence as a way for the president to distance himself from his vice president, who he thinks might be in legal trouble.
The Michael Flynn sentencing memo mentioned that Robert Mueller is investigating possible crimes committed by Trump’s transition team in 2016. And Mike Pence was the head of that transition team. It’s looking increasingly likely that Pence committed the same crimes as Flynn, and he might be indicted by Mueller sometime soon.
Of course this line of thinking assumes that Trump himself won’t be indicted and that he will actually run for president again in 2020. That may be wishful thinking on the part of Trump and his advisers.