Pence eyes his political future as he tries to make peace with Trump
June 10, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the annual Hillsborough County NH GOP Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Six months after their relationship deteriorated in the midst of an insurrection at the US Capitol, Donald Trump and Mike Pence appear to be on the mend.
That has lent new hope to allies of the former vice president who once worried that Trump, furious over Pence's refusal to indulge his unprecedented and unconstitutional request to block certification of the 2020 election results, would tank his shot at the Republican presidential nomination if he were to forgo running himself in 2024.
"I think he realizes that his path if he's running for president is open if Trump does not run, and that it's a smart move for him to minimize the distinctions between himself and the former president," said Club for Growth President David McIntosh, who remains a close friend of Pence.
In an illuminating speech to New Hampshire Republicans last Thursday, Pence acknowledged that he and his former boss would likely never settle their differences over January 6, when a pro-Trump mob invaded the Capitol -- with some chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" as they weaved through the Halls of Congress -- shortly after then-President Trump accused his deputy, who was inside the Capitol complex at the time, of lacking the "courage" to unilaterally block certain electors when counting the 2020 Electoral College votes.
When Trump appeared in North Carolina two days after Pence's televised speech for his first public appearance in three months, he seemed to echo his vice president, telling Fox News in an interview at the donor dinner that he was "disappointed with Mike on one thing" but otherwise considers him "a very fine person and a fine man. "
Thus, a second person close to Pence said the best thing the former vice president can do for his political future is to let time go by and hope that Trump stays neutral in the 2024 Republican primary if he doesn't mount a presidential campaign of his own.
While numerous Republican presidential hopefuls -- including Pence -- await a decision from Trump on 2024, allies of the former vice president say his exclusive focus for the next 18 months will be on the 2022 midterm elections.
Pence aides who spoke with CNN would not rule out potential appearances by the former vice president to support incumbent GOP candidates who have drawn Trump's ire, such as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Despite a recent uptick in Trump's public expressions of interest in 2024, several Pence allies said they do not believe the former president will ultimately enter the GOP presidential primary.