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- During a previous interview, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci suggested there was an ulterior motive behind Vice President Mike Pence’s recent hires. Nick Ayers, a political campaign strategist with little to no federal government experience, was hired as Pence’s chief of staff last month. Pence railed against reports of his potential 2020 presidential run, calling it “disgraceful and offensive.”
As former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci revealed the intricacies behind the administration’s internal politics during a profanity-laced interview two weeks ago, a portion of the conversation, one that involved Vice President Mike Pence, was left out of The New Yorker’s initial bombshell report.
According to The New Yorker’s Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza, Scaramucci appeared to drop hints about why Nick Ayers, a former campaign veteran with no federal government experience, was recently appointed as Pence’s chief of staff.
“Why do you think Nick’s there, bro,” Scaramucci said. “Are you stupid?”
“Why is Nick there,” Scaramucci asked. “Nick’s there to protect the Vice-President because the Vice-President can’t believe what the f— is going on.”
The unearthed portion of the conversation shines a new light into the dynamics between Pence and President Donald Trump, especially after The New York Times reported last weekend that Pence’s surrogates may be orchestrating a shadow campaign for a potential 2020 presidential run. The report also comes amid an evolving Justice Department investigation into possible ties between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, and low approval ratings for the embattled administration.
The Times’ Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns spoke to more than 75 Republican elected officials, donors, and strategists, who claimed there was “widespread uncertainty about whether Mr. Trump would be on the ballot in 2020, and little doubt that others in the party are engaged in barely veiled contingency planning.”
Ayers also reportedly expressed to several major Republican donors that Pence “wants to be ready.” The Times reports that multiple Pence advisers already intimated to party donors that he would plan to run if Mr. Trump did not.”
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Following the report, Pence denounced any suggestions that he was laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential run, in the event Trump decides bow out.
Pence called The Times’ reporting “disgraceful and offensive” to himself, his family, and his team.
“The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this Administration.”
“Whatever 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,” Pence continued. “Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd.”
However, political operatives said they weren’t at all surprised by the potential of a Pence 2020 run.
“While some of what Vice-President Pence is doing differs from what his predecessors did, I don’t find it particularly extraordinary,” Ron Klain, former Vice President Al Gore’s chief of staff, told The New Yorker. “Overall, I would say that whenever Mike Pence runs for office in the future, the liability he will carry from this period is not how he distanced himself from Trump but, rather, how he deepened his ties to the President.”
“In 2020, at the end of a failed, one-term Trump Presidency, no amount of PAC money or donor meetings will insulate Vice-President Pence from the political fallout from being Donald Trump’s transition chief, Capitol Hill liaison, right-hand man, and principal surrogate,” Klain said.