Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Vice President Pence addressed obliquely the political shocks of the last few days, once again striking a tone familiar to him – one intended to reassure.
“Whatever Washington D.C. may be focused on at any given time, rest assured President Donald Trump will never stop fighting for issues that matter most for the American people: good jobs, safe streets and a boundless American future,” VP Pence said.
Those comments came hours after Politico reported, “Conservatives begin to whisper: President Pence.” Similarly conservative commentator Erick Erickson wrote, “Republicans who are reflexively defending the self-inflicted wounds of this president have no need for him with Mike Pence in the wings.”
As the VP keeps up his usual schedule – including an event on Wednesday welcoming Asian-Americans and Pacific Islands to his ceremonial office – aides say he remains laser-focused on the job he was elected to do. Namely, enacting the Trump agenda.
He is, they said, “offended” by talk of impeachment or of him as the preferred alternative for congressional Republicans, fatigued by the ceaseless controversy attached to President Trump.
Recoiling from such talk: the House speaker.
“There have been some members who have said, ‘We might be better with Vice President Pence.’ What’s your – what’s your take on…” Fox News’ Chad Pergram asked.
“I’m not even going to give credence to that. I’m not even going to comment on that,” Speaker Paul Ryan said.
Unlike his immediate predecessors, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden, the incumbent VP registered a political action committee on Wednesday – a move that will enable him to support Republican candidates in 2018.
Aides said it was simply a matter of supplanting the pacs on which he had been relying, which were based in his home state of Indiana.
Ron Christie, a former aide to VP Cheney, urged the White House to raise Pence’s profile now to use some of the capital the VP has earned over the years through the trust of people and party lawmakers repose in him.
“There are a lot of supporters of the vice president who wonder why he took this job in the first palace; and they’re questioning whether or not he made a mistake,” Christie said. “I, in turn, look at this and say: I’m glad Mike Pence is there. I’m glad that he stand not only shoulder-to-shoulder with the president, but he understand the way the system works, the process works.”
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