Donald Trump and Mike Pence, one of the most beloved duos in U.S. politics, appear to be going their separate ways. Trump broke the news in a Tuesday interview with the Washington Examiner, essentially ruling out Pence as his running mate if he mounts another bid for the presidency in 2024. “I don’t think the people would accept it,” Trump explained.
Since January 6, 2021, the pair have been dropping hints that Pence’s refusal to support Trump’s coup attempt, combined with the former president’s apparent indifference to a mob of his supporters chanting “hang Mike Pence” as they ransacked the Capitol, was putting a strain on a once-happy relationship. But confirmation that Trump is ending the political marriage still came as a shock. If a famously duplicitous mogul who staged a hostile takeover of the GOP and the guy his advisers urged him to pick to win over Evangelicals can’t make it work, what hope is there for the rest of us?
But Pence has always emphasized that even if he and Trump are no longer political partners — and Pence positions himself for a 2024 run — they’ll remain friends, focusing their energies on co-owning the libs.
“You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye to eye on that day [January 6],” Pence said during a speech in New Hampshire last summer. “But I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years. And I will not allow Democrats or their allies in the media to use one tragic day to discredit the aspirations of millions of Americans.”
In his call to the Examiner, Trump struck a similarly respectful tone.
“Mike and I had a great relationship except for the very important factor that took place at the end. We had a very good relationship,” Trump said. “I haven’t spoken to him in a long time.”
It’s clear that Trump is still processing what happened between him and Pence. He acknowledged that he “was disappointed in Mike” for not being by his side as he tried to upend American democracy. And the Examiner did remark that “on balance, Trump’s comments were cold and critical.”
But Trump also had some kind words for his ex-veep. He said, “I still like Mike” and called him a “really fine person.”
It seems Trump is already beginning to understand that neither he nor Pence was the “bad guy” here; there were very fine people on both sides of the relationship. It’s sad these two can’t make it work, but as they say, sometimes it lasts in politics, but sometimes it hurts instead.
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