Former president Donald Trump has signaled that if he makes another White House bid in 2024, he would choose a running mate other than former vice president Mike Pence.
“Mike and I had a great relationship except for the very important factor that took place at the end. We had a very good relationship,” Trump said told the Examiner. “I haven’t spoken to him in a long time.”
Trump has repeatedly claimed that Pence, in his role as president of the Senate on Jan. 6, 2021, could have rejected the electoral college votes of several states won by Joe Biden in 2020 — an authority Pence said he was convinced he lacked. Trump has argued that the electoral college votes should have been rejected because of widespread fraud, no evidence of which has surfaced.
“Mike thought he was going to be a human conveyor belt, that no matter how fraudulent the votes, you have to send them up to the Old Crow,” Trump said, using his nickname for then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Trump’s claims about Pence’s authority to reject electoral college votes helped fuel the “Hang Mike Pence!” chant that erupted among the pro-Trump mob at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.
Pence, who is exploring a potential 2024 presidential bid of his own, has said Republicans need to move past the 2020 election loss.
While Pence has continued to tout his service in the Trump administration, he has recently shown a willingness to distance himself from the former president on some matters.
During a speech to Republican donors in New Orleans this month, Pence said there is no room in the Republican Party for “apologists for Putin” in an apparent swipe at Trump. Trump had previously referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as “smart,” “savvy” and “a genius,” while insisting that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine never would have happened on his watch.
Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.