Campaign

Trump spokesman: Pence ‘desperate to chase his lost relevance’

A spokesman for former President Trump told The New York Times that former Vice President Mike Pence is “desperate to chase his lost relevance” amid rising tensions between the two former allies, who could clash for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

In a Times article about Pence laying the groundwork for a potential 2024 bid, Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich said the former Indiana governor was “set to lose a governor’s race in 2016 before he was plucked up and his political career was salvaged.”

“Now, desperate to chase his lost relevance, Pence is parachuting into races, hoping someone is paying attention,” Budowich added. “The reality is, President Trump is already 82-3 with his endorsements, and there’s nothing stopping him from saving America in 2022 and beyond.”

Pence fell out of favor with Trump after the 2020 election, which the former president continues to claim was stolen. Pence, who had to be ushered to a safe location by Secret Service agents during the January 6, 2021, rioting at the U.S. Capitol, was lambasted by Trump’s supporters for pushing to certify the election results and saying the former president was wrong to claim the election was stolen.

With Trump flirting with another presidential bid in 2024, Pence has taken steps that directly oppose his running mate. In Georgia, Trump endorsed former U.S. Sen. David Perdue over Gov. Brian Kemp in the Republican gubernatorial primary — while Pence has endorsed Kemp and campaigned in Georgia.

Tuesday’s primary challenge between Kemp and Perdue is seen as a preliminary clash between Trump and Pence ahead of the 2024 Republican presidential nominee primary. While neither has confirmed a run, Trump’s endorsements of multiple GOP candidates this year are a nod to his lasting influence in the party as a kingmaker and a potential sign of his gearing up for 2024, while Pence appears to be his first direct challenger.

After the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that suggested the court’s conservative majority was preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, Pence has also picked up his appearances and longtime advocacy for anti-abortion positions.

Trump has already said Pence would not be his running mate in 2024 —  “I don’t think the people would accept it,” he told The Washington Examiner in March — and has spoken out against his potential challenger.

In an interview with a Christian news outlet earlier this month, Trump said that “it would be a hard one” for Pence if the former vice president were to run in 2024.

“I understand where the base is. I love the base. The base loves me,” said Trump, who later admitted he hasn’t spoken to Pence in months. “I think it would be hard, but Mike was a good guy. I thought he was a very good vice president. He was my friend.”

Tags Donald Trump Mike Pence Mike Pence

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