Pence: Story on pos­si­ble 2020 pres­i­den­tial run ‘dis­grace­ful’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence has pushed back against a news re­port sug­gest­ing he is lay­ing ground­work for a pos­si­ble pres­i­den­tial bid in 2020 if Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump does not run. In a state­ment re­leased by the White House, Pence said Sun­day’s story in The New York Times “is dis­grace­ful and of­fen­sive to me, my fam­ily, and our en­tire team.” He added that “the al­le­ga­tions in this ar­ti­cle are cat­e­gor­i­cally false.” The for­mal re­but­tal of a news re­port by the vice pres­i­dent was an un­usual move. In it, Pence also said his team will “fo­cus all our ef­forts to ad­vance the pres­i­dent’s agenda and see him re-elected in 2020.”

The re­port de­tails ef­forts of sev­eral Repub­li­cans look­ing ahead to 2020, call­ing it a “shadow cam­paign.” It notes Pence’s po­lit­i­cal sched­ule and ac­tive fundrais­ing, though it also says un­named ad­vis­ers have sig­naled that he’d only run if Trump doesn’t. Trump, mean­while, in­sisted his sup­port is stronger than ever. In a flurry of early morn­ing tweets Mon­day, Trump says “the Trump base far big­ger & stronger than ever be­fore (de­spite some phony Fake News polling).” He specif­i­cally crit­i­cized the “fail­ing @nytimes.”

The New York Times ar­ti­cle noted Pence has set up a fundrais­ing com­mit­tee. Called the Great Amer­ica Com­mit­tee, it can ac­cept checks of up to $5,000 from in­di­vid­ual donors. Pence raised about $1 mil­lion at a Wash­ing­ton fundraiser last month, at­tended by dozens of law­mak­ers and fea­tur­ing re­marks from White House ad­viser Ivanka Trump. Trump has not sug­gested he won’t seek a sec­ond term. But his first six months in of­fice have been tur­bu­lent, marked by staff in­fight­ing, leg­isla­tive strug­gles and a se­ries of in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

White House counselor Kellyanne Con­way also dis­missed the re­port and said Pence is ready­ing to run in 2020 “for re-elec­tion as vice pres­i­dent.”“Vice Pres­i­dent Pence is a very loyal, very du­ti­ful, but also in­cred­i­bly ef­fec­tive vice pres­i­dent, and ac­tive vice pres­i­dent, with this pres­i­dent,” said Con­way on ABC’s “This Week.”

“He is a peer to the pres­i­dent in the West Wing.” New York Times spokes­woman Danielle Rhoades Ha said in an emailed state­ment: “We are con­fi­dent in the ac­cu­racy of our re­port­ing and will let the story speak for it­self.” —AP

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