While Pence seeks solidarity, however, it has not been entirely reciprocal. Since Jan.6, Trump and Pence have spoken more than five times, according to an aide to Pence, including three this month. But the two for the most part followed their own separate and distinct paths. And Trump’s aides say they don’t keep an eye on his political machinations the way they do other prominent Republicans. Indeed, a handful of people contacted for this article said they had no idea Pence would debut after the White House on Thursday.
“The vice president’s foray into 2024 politics will meet with a more reserved golf shot,” said a former senior Trump administration official, who called Trump’s relationship with Pence “cordial but not respondent”.
Inside Trump World, there is a feeling that Pence no longer has the use he once had. When he was chosen as Trump’s running mate in 2016, it was in large part because of his appeal to evangelical conservative voters and the need to appease the GOP establishment. But political advisers to the 45th president see evangelicals as one of his most loyal voting blocs today. And Trump himself has replaced or driven out the establishment that once backed him down.
“I love Mike Pence. I think he was a great VP. A great guy, ”said a former campaign assistant. “But the reality is that a lot of Trump’s base doesn’t like or care about him. It was not a handicap [in 2020]. But was he an asset? Sure. He could give good interviews. But his ability to attract new voters wasn’t really there.
As they reflect on another presidential race in 2024, Trump’s aides discussed people other than Pence to fill the role of vice presidential candidate (assuming Trump wins the nomination). Fox News ‘Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday morning launched Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ name as a potential partner in the upcoming presidential election, a suggestion Trump has not ruled out.
“A lot of people like that – you know, I’m just saying what I read and what you read – they love this post,” Trump said on Fox News. “But sure, Ron would be considered. He’s a great guy.
And when asked about the future of the Republican Party on the “The Truth With Lisa Boothe” podcast, Trump skipped Pence’s name in favor of selecting others like South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Nebraska Senator Josh Hawley and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Penny Nance, CEO and Chair of the conservative Concerned Women for America, said Pence “holds an important place as someone we know and trust and have supported very strongly over the past four years. Nance, who has worked closely with the White House on conservative issues, also said: “I don’t think he’s the only one – I haven’t endorsed anyone – but he’s someone who has a lot. of respect among evangelical Christian voters.
While some in Trump’s own circle are skeptical of Pence taking on the role of MAGA, according to one March survey According to GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio, the former vice president is the first choice among Republican voters for a presidential election without Trump.
“I think if Pence got into a Trumpless field he would be a top candidate, but he wouldn’t be the only top candidate,” a former Trump adviser said. “Would it surprise me to see Mike Pence leading Heritage instead of running for President or being the GOP candidate in 2024?” No.”
Pence’s political career and deep network within conservative evangelical corners of the Republican Party has been carefully constructed over the years, as a radio host, Indiana congressman, state governor and force sobering for the 2016 Republican presidential ticket. During Trump’s tumultuous four years in power, he stood by Trump’s side in repeated controversies. The belief among Pence’s aides was that Trump supporters would reward him for this loyalty.
January 6 changed that, sullying Pence’s reputation among the MAGA and Trump crowd, who tells Republican donors behind closed doors earlier this month, he was “disappointed” by his vice president for not doing more to stop electoral certification.