Former President Donald Trump still has not announced whether he will run for president again in 2024. If he does, however, he has seemingly made it clear his former vice president will not be on the ticket with him.
In a phone interview with the Washington Examiner on Tuesday evening, Trump said he did not anticipate a reunion with Mike Pence if he were to launch another White House run.
“I don’t think the people would accept it,” he said.
The two men have been on the outs since Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump requested that Pence invoke special authority to reject the certification of Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
The vice president did not heed the request, and the infamous incursion of the Capitol took place during the vote that day to certify the vote. Afterward, Congress reconvened and certified the results that night.
Over a year later, neither side has given in.
Trump said in a statement on Jan. 30 that Pence “could have overturned the election.”
Days later, the former vice president directly contradicted this idea while speaking to the Federalist Society in Florida, saying, “President Trump is wrong: I had no right to overturn the election.”
“The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone,” Pence said on Feb. 4, according to WESH-TV in Orlando. “And frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”
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Trump fired back later that day, saying, “Just saw Mike Pence’s statement on the fact that he had no right to do anything with respect to the Electoral Vote Count, other than being an automatic conveyor belt for the Old Crow Mitch McConnell to get Biden elected President as quickly as possible. Well, the Vice President’s position is not an automatic conveyor if obvious signs of voter fraud or irregularities exist.”
It’s not surprising, then, that the relationship has been strained.
“Mike and I had a great relationship except for the very important factor that took place at the end,” Trump told the Examiner. “We had a very good relationship. I haven’t spoken to him in a long time.”
Trump’s suggestion that he would not choose Pence as a running mate is not shocking, but it could create some division within the Republican Party.
Republican support for Trump is still very high. According to NBC News, a straw poll at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference found 59 percent of attendants would choose Trump as the GOP nominee for president in 2024.
At the same time, Pence has not disappeared from the spotlight, either. Earlier this month, he spoke at a Republican National Committee donor retreat and seemed to take a shot at Trump, the Examiner reported.
“We cannot win by fighting yesterday’s battles or by relitigating the past,” the former vice president said, apparently referencing the battle over the 2020 election.
As interesting as this feud may be, it is probably not in Pence’s best interest to pit himself against Trump. If Republicans are forced to choose between the two men, the former president would be a clear favorite in that matchup.