Donald Trump has yet to announce whether he’ll run for president in 2024. But if he does, Trump said Mike Pence won’t rejoin him on the GOP ticket.
Trump told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday night that “I don’t think the people would accept” Pence as the former president’s running mate if he were to run for and win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Pence spent his tenure in the Trump administration as one of the then-president’s most loyal and ardent defenders, refusing to break with Trump amid even the fiercest political firestorms. But the Trump-Pence relationship reached its breaking point in the run-up to and aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, when Trump demanded that Pence use his ceremonial authority presiding over the counting of electoral votes to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Pence refused to do so — maintaining he had no such authority — and worked with House and Senate parliamentarians to close off any procedural windows for Trump allies in Congress to carry out the then-president’s wishes.
Pence was whisked away to safety by Secret Service agents as rioters, some chanting “hang Mike Pence,” approached the House chamber. Trump tweeted that day that Pence lacked the “courage” to overturn electoral votes in Trump’s favor.
A week after the insurrection, a former Pence adviser told POLITICO that Pence was “done with Trump’s bullshit.” Pence later said that he and Trump may “never see eye to eye” on Jan. 6, and in a speech to the Federalist Society last month, Pence reiterated that the Constitution gives the vice president no power to reject electoral ballots.
Trump has yet to announce his 2024 presidential bid, but polling suggests the GOP nomination is his to lose. The former president won the straw poll at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference in a landslide, earning 59 percent of the vote, a 4 percent increase over last year. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who finished second, won 28 percent.
Even so, other Republican presidential hopefuls — including DeSantis and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton — have taken shots at Trump’s record, potentially signaling an effort to cautiously distance themselves from the former president.
Those familiar with Trump’s thinking told POLITICO in November his VP decision will hinge on two factors: loyalty to Trump and loyalty to his belief in a stolen 2020 election. Both criteria would seem to disqualify Pence.