On Saturday, writing for The Washington Post, Ben Terris reported that many Republican consultants and insiders believe that Vice President Mike Pence’s presidential ambitions are doomed, for several reasons.
“If you list the top 10 most likely people to have a strong shot at the nomination, maybe Mike Pence makes number nine or 10,” said former Marco Rubio presidential campaign manager Terry Sullivan in the piece. “Maybe.” Former Jeb Bush campaign spokesman Tim Miller agreed, saying, “I could maybe see him becoming the nominee, but president? I just don’t see it.”
The problem for Pence, said some of the GOP sources, is that first of all, it is not clear whether the party will want to keep going in the same direction in 2024 even if President Donald Trump wins re-election — and that even if they do, it is not clear that Pence, a conventional politician with a more soft-spoken style, would be the natural heir of Trump’s confrontational, showman-like brand of politics.
“It’s definitely going to be harder for a career politician to be president going forward,” said MyPillow founder and Trump Minnesota campaign chair Mike Lindell. Former Rubio spokesman Alex Conant had more of the latter concern, saying, “Trump could be our party’s Iraq War. I wonder if four years from now we are nominating someone who had nothing to do with the Trump era.”
“Other names on the tongues of Republicans: Fellow lib-head-exploders Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, all of whom might be a better bet to reignite the Trump base with a similarly high-octane brand of aggrieved politicking,” wrote Terris. “Meanwhile, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina could offer less incendiary versions of Trumpism — perhaps in a more dynamic way than Pence, whose rhetorical style is as vanilla as his hair.”
Making matters worse, said the report, if Trump gets another four years, it’s not even clear Pence can stay in his good graces.
“The president’s hair-trigger thumbs and absolutist ideas about loyalty complicate any attempt to run away from the parts of the Trump administration that become politically inconvenient to Pence,” wrote Terris. “If Pence tries to shirk blame for actions of this administration — the coronavirus response, for example — he may end up on the receiving end of ‘greetings’ from Trump.”