The political couple who never should have gotten together in the first place is on the verge of breaking up — but they’ve yet to admit it to themselves.
Mike Pence was reportedly “absolutely apoplectic,” “melting down,” and “inconsolable” upon learning that there is a recording of running mate Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. Pence canceled his scheduled campaign appearances this weekend, and released a statement saying that he was “offended by the words and actions described
by Donald Trump,” but thankful that the presidential candidate apologized.
On Sunday afternoon, NBC News reported that Pence was committed to the GOP ticket, and had approved several campaign appearances this week:
As a sign of loyalty to the campaign, Pence green-lighted a four day campaign schedule without getting clearance from Trump Tower. He is prepared to hit the trail on his own terms and talk about issues, ideas and represent his party. Friends in the party believe Pence can play an important role for the GOP and fellow Republicans who are in tough races made worse by the current crisis.
But hours later, rumors swirled that Pence was considering bolting from the ticket, and much was riding on Trump’s performance in the debate. A GOP official close to Pence told the Indianapolis Star that the governor was “feeling low and concerned, but soldiering on,” and weighing the “long-term best interest of the Republican Party.” The source added, “Everything is on the table, but the assumption is that they will plan to stay in the saddle with Trump if he performs halfway well tonight.”
As the debate began, things were not looking good for the pair that spawned history’s most suggestive campaign logo. First The Atlantic’s editor-at-large reported:
Then, when asked about differences in their position on Syria, Trump threw Pence under the bus (possibly in retaliation for Pence failing to adequately defend him throughout the vice-presidential debate). When moderator Martha Raddatz pointed out that Trump’s position on Syria differs from what Pence said last week, the nominee answered, “Okay, he and I haven’t spoken and I disagree.”
It was a particularly odd claim because, earlier in the day, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway tweeted a photo of Trump and Pence talking on the phone:
Then came more rumors that Pence wanted off the ticket:
Which the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee quickly shot down:
Then Pence laid the issue to rest by praising his running mate’s debate performance on Twitter:
Only to see the rumors revived by a report from newjersey.com that Pence canceled a fundraiser in the state scheduled for Monday.
It’s possible that’s just a scheduling mixup. Pence is said to be doing several TV appearances on behalf of the Trump campaign on Monday:
But then again, even Kellyanne Conway is sending mixed signals about whether she’ll be on the team to the bitter end.
For now, let’s just put everyone associated with the Trump campaign down as an “unless …”