Former United States President Donald Trump has all but ruled out Mike Pence to repeat as his running mate should he decide to run for president again.
Pence was a staunch ally for Trump throughout his presidency, but their relationship ended on less than amicable terms.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Donald Trump expressed that he did not believe people “would accept” Pence as his running mate in 2024 if he does decide to run for President again.
The former President and Vice President were in lockstep for most of Trump’s term. However, their relationship soured following Trump’s defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential election.
“Mike and I had a great relationship except for the very important factor that took place at the end. We had a very good relationship,” Trump said.
The “very important factor” that Trump is referencing was Pence’s refusal to reject the electoral college count over the claim that the votes were fraudulently calculated and the election was stolen from him.
Pence claimed that he did not have the power to overturn the electoral vote, a stance held by most legal experts. Pence, acting as the President of the Senate, a role held by the vice president, oversaw the counting of electoral votes.
Trump and his advisors devised a plan where Pence would reject the electoral count in several states won by Biden, with the expectation that Republican legislators would then award those electoral votes to Trump and thus the Presidency.
Pence never followed through on the plan, and after the January 6, Capitol attack he certified the election results. He recently made it clear that he does not believe he had that power. “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election,” he said in a speech to the Federalist Society.
However, Trump still insists that Pence could have overturned the election if he wanted to.
“Mike thought he was going to be a human conveyor belt, that no matter how fraudulent the votes, you have to send them up to [Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell], but that turned out to be wrong. Because now, as you know, they are feverishly working to try and get it so that the vice president cannot do what Mike said he couldn’t do,” Trump said, referring to the bipartisan bill that intends to clarify the role of the vice president established in the 1887 Electoral Count Act.
The split between the two former running mates could see the pair be pegged against each other in the 2024 Republican primaries. Trump has often hinted at a run in 2024, and Pence has not ruled out a run, with repeated trips to South Carolina fueling speculation about a potential 2024 bid.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released in January had Trump with a commanding lead over his competition among Republican voters. 54% said they preferred Trump to other candidates in the field. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came in second with 11%, and Pence came in third at 8%.
“Not Sure” beat every potential Republican candidate besides Trump, with 14% of respondents expressing their uncertainty.
Trump and Pence have indicated that they will make their decision on running in 2024 sometime after the 2022 midterm elections.
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