The Times piece cites a number of members of the Never Trump movement who are jockeying for position to deprive President Donald Trump of the party’s nomination and thereby quash his hopes for reelection.
Excerpted from the NYT story “Republican Shadow Campaign for 2020 Takes Shape as Trump Doubts Grow”:
“If the Republicans have lost a lot of seats in the Congress and they blame Trump for it, then there are going to be people who emerge who are political opportunists,” Mr. Bergman said.
Mr. Pence has been the pacesetter. Though it is customary for vice presidents to keep a full political calendar, he has gone a step further, creating an independent power base, cementing his status as Mr. Trump’s heir apparent and promoting himself as the main conduit between the Republican donor class and the administration.
The vice president created his own political fund-raising committee, Great America Committee, shrugging off warnings from some high-profile Republicans that it would create speculation about his intentions. The group, set up with help from Jack Oliver, a former fund-raiser for George W. Bush, has overshadowed Mr. Trump’s own primary outside political group, America First Action, even raising more in disclosed donations.
There have been many stories percolating that Pence may be scheming and eyeing a palace coup, a narrative that the Veep has continued to distance himself from. Just when some were getting the idea that where there’s smoke there may be fire, Pence attacked the Times for publishing more fake news.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 6, 2017
The Washington Examiner reports “Mike Pence blasts ‘disgraceful and offensive’ report on ‘shadow campaign’ to unseat Trump in 2020”:
Vice President Mike Pence called an article in the New York Times “disgraceful and offensive” for reporting of a potential “shadow campaign” run against President Trump in the 2020 election.
“The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this Administration,” Pence said in a statement shared by the White House on Sunday, calling the article “fake news.”
The newspaper reported this weekend that the GOP is losing faith in Trump and is looking to back someone other than Trump in the 2020 race. The report said that members of Pence’s team have spoken privately of setting up a campaign to challenge Trump in the next presidential race.
Pence’s aides quickly pushed back on the report, with Marc Lotter, the vice president’s press secretary, calling it “wishful thinking” by the New York Times. Pence criticized the article as being “disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team. ”
Pence added, “[w]hatever fake news may come our way, my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the President’s agenda and see him re-elected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd.”
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) August 6, 2017
It’s entirely possible that the stories are an attempt to sow the seeds of distrust between Trump and Pence, the Never Trumpers are getting an early start to try to accomplish that which they failed to do in 2016.