Mike Pence fires back at NY Times after allegation so shocking you won’t believe it.

 

Background:

Since the beginning of his campaign, Donald Trump has never been able to gain the complete support the Republican establishment. Whether it was his entrance into the Republican Primary, when he was treated as a joke candidate, or whether it was Paul Ryan refusing to endorse him after he became the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Trump has always had a tough time getting the backing of the party establishment.

While originally people thought this was bad for him and would prevent him from even having a chance of winning, as the widely held theory of presidential politics was that the party decides who the nominee is, it turned out to be a good thing. Casting himself as an outsider and someone not beholden to anyone, Trump was able to attack the establishment’s policies of both parties. By doing this, Trump was able to tap into the anger and dissatisfaction felt by many middle-class Americans towards Washington and the politicians who they felt ignored them. As a result, Trump won the Republican Primary and eventually the presidency.

However, being an outsider only works for so long. Once Trump won, he and the Republican establishment tried to put everything negative from the past behind them, and move forward as a united front. This occurred because Trump and the Republican Party both realized that it was in their best interests to come together. Both sides understood that in order to govern effectively and pass mutual priorities, they needed to work together. After all, in order to pass legislation, both Congress and the President need to support it.

For a while, after Trump was inaugurated, it looked like this had worked. Trump had appointed many prominent figures of the Republican establishment to key positions in his administration, and in turn, mainstream Republican politicians, in Congress and elsewhere, maintained public support for the President and his agenda. Everything, it seemed, was functioning as it should.

 

What’s Happening Now:

With the recent failure of the Senate to pass a healthcare bill, and the advancing Russia investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, Trump’s position is weaker than it has been at any point since the election. As a result, suspicions have arisen that many the Republican party establishment are starting to abandon Trump.

According to a NY Times Report:

“President Trump’s first term is ostensibly just warming up, but luminaries in his own party have begun what amounts to a shadow campaign for 2020 — as if the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue weren’t involved.

The would-be candidates are cultivating some of the party’s most prominent donors, courting conservative interest groups and carefully enhancing their profiles. Mr. Trump has given no indication that he will decline to seek a second term.”

While this report, that some Republicans are preparing themselves for a possible presidential run in case Trump doesn’t run for reelection, is interesting, the NY Times doesn’t necessarily break new ground with it. Every cycle some members of the incumbent president’s party take steps to make sure they have the foundation to run if the opportunity arises. However, where the NY Times does make waves is with its discussion of who exactly is doing this. The NY Times reports that:

“Mr. Pence has been the pacesetter. Though it is customary for vice presidents to keep a full political calendar, he has gone a step further, creating an independent power base, cementing his status as Mr. Trump’s heir apparent and promoting himself as the main conduit between the Republican donor class and the administration.”

This accusation, that Pence is actively creating his own political base within the party, is explosive. If true, it would seem to imply that at best Pence is worried that Trump will be unable to run again to do scandal and is preparing himself accordingly, and at worse, that Pence is actively preparing himself to run independently of Trump in 2020 no matter what. This would suggest a serious lack of loyalty, which would, in turn, be incredibly harmful to Trump’s young presidency and his chances of accomplishing anything

However, Pence is not taking this accusation sitting down. According to the Daily Caller:

“Vice President Mike Pence blasted The New York Times on Sunday over an article suggesting that he is forming a shadow political campaign to run for president in 2020.

In a statement issued by the White House, Pence called the Times piece ‘fake news’ as well as ‘disgraceful and offensive’ and ‘laughable and absurd.’”

This strong reply by Pence is exactly what the Republican Party needed. If the allegations are true, then not denying them just confirms them. However, if they aren’t true, then not denying them just allows the mainstream media to divide the party and thwart their agenda even further. After all, no matter what, Republicans and Trump still need each other if they want to implement their common agenda.

 

H/T: The NY Times, The Daily Caller