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Trumpworld is already weighing veeps for 2024. Hint: it’s not Pence.

As it stands, Trump is extremely unlikely to run again with former Vice President Mike Pence as number two, according to advisers. Some Trump aides have also canceled Pence’s political future, at least at the presidential level, arguing privately that he has failed to capture anything close to the same kind of enthusiasm as Trump. They point to the anger of Trump’s most intransigent supporters over Pence’s decision to fulfill his constitutional duty by certifying Biden’s electoral victory.

“The vice president is an amazing man and was a great vice president, but he has a huge hurdle – a problem – trying to be the candidate after dealing with what he’s been dealing with for the past six months.” another Trump adviser said, pointing to his recent reception at conservative events. When specifically asked if there was any chance Pence could be Trump’s number two again, the adviser replied, “zero.”

Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The Family Leader, an influential conservative social group in Iowa, said it was “to have done it for both of them.”

“I think they know they need a fresh start if Trump shows up again,” Vander Plaats said. “Is that a Nikki Haley, is that a Tim Scott, is that a Governor Kim Reynolds?” Or is it a Kristi Noem? You could see everyone who was making a big game for VP. “

But while Pence may be on the sidelines as a possible Trump 2024 vice presidential candidate due to his role in overseeing the election’s certification, others in the GOP tent say that his actions that day may well position him as a presidential contender. Pence and his advisers still have strong roots in Conservative circles. A former Trump official argued that Pence would benefit from having already answered the inevitable question on January 6 while others “like Pompeo, who said Trump will be inaugurated again, will have a harder time.”

Pence’s aides have made it clear he is focused on helping Republicans get elected in 2022. And Pence, unlike other potential candidates for 2024, has never publicly said he will step down from office. the race if Trump enters. The election is still 39 months away.

John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser turned Trump critic, told POLITICO that any “GOP candidates who disagree with Pence’s January 6 election decisions are almost certainly toasted in the air. general election of 2024 “.

Bolton, through his PAC, has produced tons of poll data showing that the Republican electorate is less tied to Trump than conventional wisdom suggests. His most recent poll showed that only a third of Republicans polled believe Trump is the strongest candidate to take on Biden in 2024, while 52% believe a “new face” would make a stronger candidate.

Few others in GOP politics are prepared to say that the party would be well served by moving away from Trump. Instead, other potential 2024s and their assistants have started to engage in some sort of shadow campaign, posing as Trump liners – ready to step in if the former president decides to skip a third nomination for the election. White House, or serve as the relevant vice president for him.

The list so far includes lawmakers like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senators Tim Scott, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Josh. Hawley. Some have flocked to early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire to make forays with party leaders and influential activists, or have crisscrossed the country to speak at events for the 2022 candidates and during PAC fundraisers with donors with deep pockets. None have announced their plans. And according to advisers, most, including Trump, are waiting until after the 2022 midterm election.

“The best thing you can do is be there for yourself and fundraise and stand up against the candidates,” a Trump adviser said. “74 million people is not a base. It is half of the electorate. People are asking the wrong question: How do I get Trump to say my name with a smile on my face? But they need to know how they should connect with its base.

In the meantime, some are already trying to stand out from the competition. Noem traveled to Iowa last week to speak to Tories in Des Moines and took not-so-veiled punches at DeSantis over his state’s coronavirus restrictions. Noem rose to national significance during the pandemic for violating numerous government health recommendations in the name of freedom. Among all states, South Dakota has the 10th highest death rate from Covid-19.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who fueled speculation he was leading by writing another book, “Republican Rescue,” appeared to take a hit from Haley when he said he wouldn’t defer to it. person – Trump included. Haley, who criticized Trump in the aftermath of the Jan.6 riots on Capitol Hill, referred to her former boss and said she would not be running if Trump did.

Nonetheless, Trump resumed his criticism (not his deference) and banned him from going to Mar-a-Lago. But it is not entirely outdone. Haley recently met Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

In early speeches to Republican loyalists, there is a reluctance to confront Trump, with the curious 2024 choosing instead to highlight only the administration’s accomplishments and erase controversies like January 6.

One of the exceptions may be Pence, who said he and Trump would disagree that day. But even though he defended his role in certifying election results, Pence mainly focused on the accomplishments of the “Trump-Pence administration” and the praise of his former political partner.

While Trump’s grip on the party appears firm, a handful of recent polls suggest DeSantis, among shadow activists, has an opening. The governor of Florida continues to vote after Trump as a potential candidate and top of the list without the ex-president. DeSantis is focused on a 2022 re-election race. But a sign of his popularity – or, perhaps, a first attempt to claim alpha dog status – unofficial Trump merchandise stores have started selling shirts and the 2024 Trump-DeSantis flags. And if Trump decides not to run, there are already discussions among several former senior Trump administration officials about helping a DeSantis campaign.

“If Trump decides to come in, everyone will fall by the wayside or say, ‘Trump is the guy, we’ll back down. “Because if you see you running in the primary, it hurts you in 28, when you get re-elected – so there’s a lot of math to be done, would you like Trump primary or not,” a former adviser said. Trump campaign.

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