After the release of a New York Times story claiming he’s preparing for a 2020 White House campaign to challenge President Trump, Vice President Pence pushed back with full force on Monday. He included information about money from his political action committee going directly to Trump’s re-election effort – not his own campaign.
“It’s absurd,” Pence spokesman Marc Lotter told Fox News on Monday. “Really what you’ve got here is speculation, conjecture, half-truths masquerading as news on the front page of the never-Trump New York Times. … The Vice President is supportive of the President.”
Pence fired back on Twitter Sunday, almost immediately after it was published to deny that he and Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are each preparing a “shadow campaign” that includes visiting early-voting states and contacting donors.
“Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team,” Pence said in an official White House release. “The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration.”
The NYT story blames the “disarray” of the current administration for Pence’s efforts to run a campaign in 2020. They claim it is mostly because of investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 White House race.
“Pence’s schedule is so full of political events that Republicans joke that he is acting more like a second-term vice president hoping to clear the field than a No. 2 sworn in a little over six months ago,” according to the story.
A senior member of the Vice President’s staff disputed the story just hours after the White House press release. He mentioned that Pence would headline multiple campaign events for Trump this fall.
The staffer also told Fox News that Pence’s first leadership PAC check went to the Trump re-election effort and that the PAC has already given the maximum contributions to the Trump 2020 campaign.
The staffer added that the story failed to point out that Ivanka Trump headlined the first Pence leadership PAC event in Washington and that the group was created by veterans of the Trump and Pence teams.
The VP has made clear his commitment to serving the President.
During an interview, Pence said, “All that I’m preparing for every day is to do everything I can to see President Donald Trump re-elected in 2020.”