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Former President Donald J. Trump continues to give signals that he will be mounting an effort to retake the White House in 2024 but if he does decide to run, a familiar face will be missing from the ticket – Mike Pence.
Trump put an end to much speculation about his former vice president in a telephone interview with the Washington Examiner during which he touched on a wide range of topics including Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO, his endorsement of Senate hopeful Mo Brooks and his plans for what would be the mother of all political comebacks.
The former and perhaps future POTUS spoke with the outlet from Mar-a-Lago, his South Florida resort that now serves as his headquarters, and when asked about whether he would be teaming up with Pence whom he called a “really fine person.”
“I don’t think the people would accept it,” Trump said, opening the door for a fresh face and loyal partner if and when he tabs a running mate.
The relationship between the two Republicans was possibly damaged irreparably over differences about the validity of the 2020 election, a contest that the former president contends was not on the up-and-up, an opinion that he maintains despite the insistence of many in the GOP that the party needs to focus on the future rather than the past.
“Mike and I had a great relationship except for the very important factor that took place at the end. We had a very good relationship,” he said. “I haven’t spoken to him in a long time.”
Pence’s refusal to overturn the Electoral College certification on the fateful day of January 6, 2021, when Congress gathered to put their stamp of approval on Biden’s victory infuriated Trump as well as many of his supporters who saw it as an act of betrayal. The chaos at the Capitol that briefly delayed the process drove a wedge between the two men.
“Mike thought he was going to be a human conveyor belt, that no matter how fraudulent the votes, you have to send them up to the Old Crow,” Trump said, referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, using one of the nicknames that he has often bestowed upon his adversaries.
The former veep who has been eying his own White House run has been working to curry favor with the virulently anti-Trump media as well as the Liz Cheney-Mitt Romney faction of the GOP and has gone so far as to parrot Democrat talking points using the Ukraine-Russia crisis as the basis for his not thinly-veiled swipe at his former boss.
There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin. There is only room for champions of Freedom.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) March 5, 2022
“There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin,” Pence said in remarks to donors at an event in New Orleans, a comment that has been widely interpreted as a reference to Trump who continues to be smeared as a Kremlin collaborator even after the Russia collusion hoax was debunked.
Names that have been tossed around as a possible replacement for Pence on the bottom of a Trump 2024 ticket have included Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, North Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and former South Carolina governor and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, although her past criticism of Trump could be a deal killer.
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