President Donald Trump publicly insists everything is fine between him and Vice President Mike Pence, but there do seems to be tensions between the two men and their teams.
White House officials have denied rumors that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have discussed replacing Pence on the 2020 ticket with former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, but cracks have developed beneath the surface between the president and his running mate, reported Yahoo News.
“The perception is that Pence’s team is difficult to work with,” said one Trump adviser, who said Trump occasionally seeks his staffer’s opinions on the vice president and his aides. “That just doesn’t come up organically. Somebody is saying that to the president.”
Pence’s team seems to know there are factions in the White House that would prefer another running mate.
“There are certain pockets out there that want to solve their problems by replacing the running mate,” said one Pence adviser. “But we’re on the team. We might be JV, but we’re helping re-elect him.”
Trump has insisted Pence has been an “outstanding VP,” but one episode recounted by Yahoo News shows the level of mistrust between the two camps.
The president’s daughter and son-in-law, who serve as White House advisers and work closely with 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale, have sidelined top Pence political aides such as fundraiser Marty Obst and former spokesman Marc Lotter, according to Trump campaign advisers.
Pence’s aides asked Parscale to test the vice president’s favorability as part of a spring polling effort, according to Trump campaign aides.
Parscale told them it was too late to add the question, but that wasn’t true.
The question was already on the poll, which was conducted in 14 states, and the campaign learned that Pence’s favorability rating was higher than Trump’s — which Parscale wanted to keep from both Trump and his vice president.
But Obst, who is Pence’s chief political aide as well as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, used a mole inside the president’s campaign to obtain a copy of the poll.
Haley’s out-of-nowhere public denial inflamed tensions two weeks ago, and some Pence advisers have complained that Trump expects his vice president to pass “loyalty tests” — which places into sharper relief his decision to stay at the Trump-owned Doonberg golf resort during official visit to Ireland.
“He’s on a tightrope,” said one RNC member, who helped put Pence onto the 2016 ticket. “If he takes Mike Pence off the ticket, that would just be despicable.”
One former adviser to both Trump and Pence said the vice president could improve his relationship with the president by making clear he would not seek his job.
“All of this would go away if he announced he wasn’t running for president in 2024,” the former adviser said.