09:09 GMT22 June 2021
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    Since the end of the Trump administration, the future of the conservative political faction in the US has been called into question. As well as the chasm within the Republican Party over the legacy of the last 4 years, the once-close relationship between Mike Pence and the former president was also believed to have been upended.

    Mike Pence reportedly reaffirmed a close "personal" relationship with the ex-US-president, Donald Trump, and suggested that he may initiate an organization to defend the administration's legacy.

    Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, Indiana Republican and chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, Jim Banks, claimed that lawmakers had convened at the former vice president's transition office in the Washington DC area on Tuesday afternoon, discussing the future of the Republican Party and lauding the accomplishments of the Trump administration.

    Pence said he has no hostility toward Trump over the deadly 6 January Capitol Hill riots, in which Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building as, according to reports, some were looking to "hang" the former VP, who oversaw the congressional confirmation of Joe Biden's presidential election victory.

    According to Banks, Trump's behaviour prior to the incident, in which the latter has been accused of encouraging the deadly violence, "never came up".

    "He spoke very favourably about his relationship with President Trump", Banks said. "I got the sense they speak often and maintain the same personal friendship and relationship now that they have for four years"

    Banks says that he expects Pence to take a more public role in the coming months to actively defend the achievements of the Trump administration. 

    "He'll be launching an organization defending the successful Trump-Pence record of the last four years", Banks said.

    Pence, who previously chaired the Republican Study Committee, reportedly told GOP lawmakers that the current situation reflects the 2009 Obama victory, which saw Democrats take all three legislative branches - the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the White House.

    "He talked about how in 2009, the new Democrat President, Democrat House, Democrat Senate -- how similar that moment was to this moment", Banks said. "A massive spending deal Democrats pushed in 2009 that overreached, every single [House] Republican voted against in 2009. That sure looks like the $1.9 trillion bill that's on the floor this week".

    Banks predicted that the more "Democrats overreach, the more likely we are going to have a 2010 type midterm to win back the majority. He sort of senses the similarity in that moment to this moment".

    Pence declined an invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting in Florida this week, where Trump will reportedly make an appearance. 

    Water Under the Bridge?

    According to a Monday CNN report, Pence and his former running mate have spoken twice since Biden's 20 January ascension to the White House, with an unnamed source describing their relationship as "amicable."

    After spending 3 years and 11 months in the second-most powerful position in Washington DC - the vice presidency - Pence became the target of Trump's frustrations as the former refused to kowtow to the latter's attempts to overturn the November 2020 election.

    In an attempt to prevent the certification of the election results, Trump supporters attacking Capitol Hill directed their anger at Democrats for allegedly "stealing" the election but also blamed Pence for not supporting Trump.

    A protester walks past the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.
    © AP Photo / Patrick Semansky
    A protester walks past the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

    Since the November 2020 election cycle and Trump's subsequent attempts to challenge the results due to allegations of widespread voter fraud, the Republican party has experienced a significant schism, with some continuing to support Trump while others, including many former administration officials, criticising his actions.

    Last week, Trump's former ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, overtly denounced the latter and the direction the Republican Party has taken since his 2016 victory.

    "He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again".
    Tags:
    Joe Biden, Mike Pence, Trump
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