Martin Walsh| Mike Pence’s staff reportedly made secret moves behind the scenes to ensure Pence did not appear on rally stages after Donald Trump Jr. because he was getting cheers from the crowd for a presidential bid of his own and the vice president did not.
In his new book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, Michael C. Bender writes that Pence’s staff were taken aback during a February 2020 rally in New Hampshire when Trump Jr. got an election chant from the packed convention center of MAGA fans and the Pence did not.
To put it more plainly: at 2020 rallies, the crowd cheered for Trump Jr. and the idea of him possibly mounting his own presidential run one day.
The crowd never reacted that way for Pence, so his team put a stop to Mike Pence going on stage after Trump Jr.
The Daily Mail reported:
Both men were speaking ahead of President Trump at the campaign rally at the SNHU Arena, one of the last before the COVID pandemic shut them down.
The president’s son was to introduce the running mate. But Donald Jr. was kept from speaking by repeated chants of ‘Forty-six! Forty-six!’ – a reference to the fans wanting him to make his own presidential bid.
President Trump was the 45th president while President Joe Biden is the 46th.
Don Jr. tried to tamp down the cheers. ‘One step at a time,’ he said. ‘Let’s worry about 2020. That’s all we’ve got to focus on, right? Let’s keep winning.’
He was finally able to introduce Pence.
But there was no ‘forty-six’ chants for Pence despite him harboring presidential ambitions of his own.
Katie Miller, the vice president’s communications director, noted the absence.
‘That’s funny,’ she said.
After Pence left the stage, ‘he made an awkward joke about the moment’ to Don Junior and Kimberly Guilfoyle, the book reports.
Later, Marty Obst, Pence’s longtime political strategist, made it known at Trump campaign headquarters that Pence was never again to follow Don Jr. onstage.
‘He’s just a hard act to follow,’ Obst said.
The 432-page book, out July 13, details Trump’s life in the White House, the two impeachment trials and Trump’s failed attempt to win a second term.
The reports of tension between the Trump and Pence camps come as the former vice president ties to distance himself from Trump.
Ironically, Don Jr. bested Pence in a straw poll of conservative voters last month of their top choices for the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came out on top at the Western Conservative Summit gathering while Pence, who was known for his strong conservative support, came in near the bottom of the GOP choices, trailing Don Jr. by four points.
Don Jr. is said to harbor political ambitions and is popular on the Republican fundraising circuit. He’s made no formal announcement of a future political run although there is talk he could make a gubernatorial bid in Montana or New York.