'Has to Walk a Fine Line': Major Trump Problems Threaten Pence's Political Future - Report

© AP Photo / Charlie NeibergallFormer Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the Family Leadership Summit, Friday, July 16, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the Family Leadership Summit, Friday, July 16, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.10.2021
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In this week's statement, Trump made an uncommon public expression of respect for his former vice president after the two left office in January. They have spoken "about a dozen times" in recent months, as per Pence's earlier comments, but they have reportedly not met in person since.
Former Vice President Mike Pence does have a "Trump problem" which seriously affects his chances of having a bright political future ahead of him, The Hill reported, citing strategists and officials close to the former president.
According to them, Pence must simultaneously win over swaths of former President Donald Trump's supporters and create space separate from the former president to chart a new way forward, while not alienating Trump himself, in order to carve out a path to the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.
One source close to Trump reportedly claimed that the two former officials are on better terms now than when they left office, particularly after the rift over the January 6 Capitol riot and the electoral college vote certification with Pence presiding. However, they contend that the former president's probable decision to run for president in 2024 will put to a halt any discussions about Pence's candidacy.
Pence's path to the GOP nomination will be limited without some type of endorsement from Trump if he decides to sit out in 2024, according to the report, making it all the more important for the former vice president to smooth over his relationship with his former boss.
"Pence has to walk a fine line. He’s trying to stay in Trump's good graces and not upset Trump's base with the hope of being the heir apparent if Trump doesn’t run in 2024," GOP fundraiser Dan Eberhart is quoted as saying. "The media is a convenient whipping boy on Jan. 6. Convenient because the public distrusts them and because it deflects blame away from Trump."
During an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News earlier this week, Pence gave a glimpse into how he would attempt to pull off his delicate political balancing act.
The former VP, as expected, went through a litany of accusations of the Biden administration before being questioned about his relationship with the former president, which Hannity noted was strained specifically due to Pence's refusal to reject the electoral college votes proclaiming President Biden the winner of the 2020 election.

"I can tell you that we parted amicably at the end of the administration, and we've talked a number of times since we both left office,” Pence responded. "But I believe that our entire focus today should be on the future."

He also noted that January 6, the day when crowds of people who attended Trump's rally stormed the Capitol in a bid to halt the election certification process, was "a tragic day" in US history. But added kudos to law enforcement officials, and in particular the Capitol Hill police, who made it possible for them to "finish" their work.

"The president and I sat down a few days later and talked through all of it," he noted, apparently refuting media reports that Trump allegedly did not want to communicate with his vice president after the certification of the votes.

Pence blamed the media for exaggerating the significance of the January 6 riots.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks about the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement at the Heritage Foundation, Tuesday, 17 September 2019, in Washington. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.06.2021
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Pence is ‘Proud’ Congress Certified Joe Biden's Election Win Despite Trump Pressure, Capitol Breach
Pence is walking on thin ice, political strategists told the newspaper. A portion of the GOP may never forgive him for defying Trump and certifying the election results, while another will be turned off Pence if he downplays the events of January 6.

"I do not see a credible path forward to how Pence can get the nomination," Sean Walsh, a GOP strategist said. "There are too many problems he’ll have with Trump and Trump loyalists."

During the chaotic events which unfolded in Washington, DC in early January, Pence was hauled away to safety as some of the rioters screamed for Pence to be hanged, while Trump tweeted disparaging remarks about the then-vice president. Back then, US media speculated that Trump considered Pence's decision not to interfere with Biden's win certification as a betrayal, and allegedly did not even inquire about the safety of his own vice president amid news of the rampage in the Capitol building itself.
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