Despite his staunch record of standing behind President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policy choices, it seems Vice President Mike Pence could find himself joining the ever-growing list of former administration officials.
Trump has reportedly been taking the loss of the House poorly, sulking at the prospect of diminished power and the Democrats’ soon-to-be-acquired ability to launch investigations into his taxes, business connections, and ties to Saudi Arabia and Russia. He is said to be taking it out on those around him.
A reporter appeared to surprise the president last week, at a post-midterms press conference, when he asked if Trump was planning on having Pence be his running mate again in 2020.
“Mike, will you be my running mate?” he asked, turning to the vice president and asking him to stand and raise his right hand, which he did.
“Will you? Thank you. Okay, good,” Trump said. “That was unexpected, but I feel very fine.”
However, in private he has been asking aides and advisers if they think Pence is loyal to him, The New York Times reports.
That has caused some alarm among those in the White House, as they know it to be an inquiry he likes to make when thinking of parting ways with someone on staff, like he recently did with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had upset his boss by recusing himself from the Russia investigation and resigned upon the president’s request.
While most of the aides and advisers he has been asking have stood up for Pence, some have suggested he is no longer so useful to him now that the evangelical vote is assumed to be immovably on the side of the Republicans.
Meanwhile, the party is losing women, and continues to not have the support of younger or minority folks, all growing voting blocs.
The possibility of Trump casting about for a new vice presidential running mate in 2020, especially considering his unconventional manner, seems entirely possible to many close to the situation. Others see it as a way for him to test out opinions on Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, whom he has been considering making the White House chief of staff to replace John Kelly.