There are lots of contenders but nobody has demonstrated more fealty to Donald Trump over the past five years or so than Vice President Mike Pence. No matter how major or minor the accomplishment, how real or imagined, Pence has begun almost every public utterance with the phrase “thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump.”
So why is Trump now reportedly questioning Pence’s devotion to him? There are a few reasons. First, Trump has been saying he doesn’t feel that his vice president has been visible and forceful enough in pushing the false “stolen election” storyline. While he has yet to publicly express the kind of vitriol about Pence that he has against other Republicans who he feels have either quit on him or are not fighting hard enough, Trump feels let down by his number two guy.
Second, the president’s now well aware that Pence, in his role as President of the Senate, will be tasked with publicly declaring on Jan. 6 in front of the full Congress that his boss lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden. Some have wondered if Pence faithfully carry out his Constitutional duties to announce the Electoral College vote totals or continue to go along with Trump delusion that he’ll be getting a second term.
Then there’s the Lincoln Project TV ad that clearly Trump has seen. In conversations with aides, Trump has used some of the same phrases contained in the spot, specifically that Pence has been “backing away” from Trump.
The ad is classic Lincoln Project material, produced for the audience of one and designed to bore into and remain resident in his head. “The end is coming, Donald and even Mike Pence knows. He’s backing away from your train wreck. When Mike Pence is running away from you, you know it’s over.”