Tensions between Pence and Trump are rising, raising questions over a break

(The Hill) – Mike Pence will be in the spotlight on Friday afternoon when the former vice president is expected to address ex-President Donald Trump’s most recent attacks on his handling of the 2020 election.

It’s unclear exactly how far Pence will go, but tensions between Pence and Trump are growing as the 2024 campaign season draws closer and both men flirt with the possibility of running for the nation’s highest office.

A preview of the event from the Federalist Society in Florida says Pence “will make remarks on constitutional principles and the rule of law,” but aides said Trump’s comments about the election cancellation would likely come back.

Pence was Trump’s consummate loyalist as vice president, but the Jan. 6 riot seemed like a breaking point as he charts his own path to 2024 and beyond.

Trump turned fire on Pence in a pair of statements this week, first saying the former vice president should have unilaterally overturned the 2020 election result, then suggesting the House panel investigating the riot of January 6 should investigate why Pence did not. reject the results.

In a statement late Sunday, Trump hammered Pence’s handling of that process in January last year, shortly after President Joe Biden won in 2020, lamenting that his former vice president “could have undone the election”, but chose not to.

In a subsequent statement released Tuesday, Trump complained that the House panel should instead focus its efforts, in part, on “why Mike Pence did not return votes for recertification or endorsement, in that ‘it has now been shown that he clearly had the right to do so!’ he added.

Pence previously acknowledged that he and Trump may “never agree” on the events of that day, and he expressed pride that Congress had completed the certification process after the riot.

The former president’s anger comes at a time when Pence and his team are moving away from Trump and positioning themselves for a possible run in 2024.

Several former Pence aides cooperated with the House committee investigating Jan. 6, a point that is certainly not lost on the former president, who issues near-daily statements hammering at the select committee.

These contacts almost certainly contributed to the animosity and tension between those in the Pence and Trump camps.

Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, sat down with the committee late last month for an interview. Greg Jacob, who served as Pence’s general counsel, spoke to the committee a few days later.

Both were key aides to Pence during his time in the White House and could provide critical information about what was happening in the vice president’s orbit in the days leading up to Jan. 6, 2021.

“Trump should be worried. Of all these people on Mike Pence’s team, Greg Jacob’s integrity is unwavering,” tweeted Olivia Troye, a former homeland security aide to Pence who has since become an outspoken critic of Trump: “He was never one to do Trump bidding and he always knew what was at stake for our country.”

Trump has attacked Pence before, including the day of the Jan. 6 riots when the then vice president was escorted to safety and a mob marched through the building. In an interview with ABC’s Jon Karl last year, he played down rioters calling for Pence to be hanged.

His attention returned to Pence this week as the Jan. 6 panel continues its investigation and a group of senators discuss reforms that would prevent a vice president from single-handedly dismissing election results in the future.

Tensions between Team Trump and Team Pence during Jan. 6 underscore how the Capitol riot has become a defining issue for Republicans, including those who may seek the 2024 nomination.

Pence is widely seen as positioning himself for a potential run, hosting events in early primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina since leaving office. He sought to blend the achievements of the Trump administration with his own view of conservatism, suggesting that Republicans should put forward a positive agenda for voters to support them.

But strategists widely agree that his Jan. 6 actions, which Trump and many of his supporters see as a betrayal, will follow him into the campaign trail if he shows up and could be his long-term downfall.

“He has to appeal to the Trump wing of the party because they’re enraged and without them he can’t move forward, but they won’t think he’s loyal,” a former Trump administration official said. . “But he also needs to appeal to another, larger segment of the Republican Party that wants to kind of go beyond Trump and move on to a different phase. Trying to bridge both sides of this divide can end up reducing a person’s chances.

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