CPAC speaker instructs crowd to boo Mitt Romney 'every time his name is mentioned'

CPAC speaker instructs crowd to boo Mitt Romney 'every time his name is mentioned'Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah.) isn't getting the warmest of receptions at the Conservative Political Action Conference he was specifically not invited to. The Utah Senator and 2012 Republican presidential nominee's name was mentioned during Turning Point USA's Charlie Kirk's CPAC speech on Thursday, at which point the crowd booed and Kirk encouraged this as the proper response."Correct," Kirk said. "Every time his name is mentioned, you should respond that way."Kirk went on to rage that Romney "lied to every single person in this room" and voted "for that sham, unconstitutional impeachment." Romney was the only Republican senator to vote in favor of convicting President Trump in his impeachment trial, as well as the only senator in U.S. history to vote to remove a president of his party. After his vote to call additional witnesses in the impeachment trial, CPAC organizer Matt Schlapp said Romney was not invited to the event, with Schlapp later saying, "I'd actually be afraid for his physical safety" because "people are so mad at him." This type of backlash is something Romney clearly expected, saying in an interview the day of his impeachment vote, "the personal consequences, the political consequences that fall on me as a result of that are going to be extraordinary." > Charlie Kirk sets the tone, telling CPAC crowd that booing is the appropriate response to Mitt Romney's name. pic.twitter.com/eFCJXc8yqT> > -- Anthony L. Fisher (@anthonyLfisher) February 27, 2020More stories from theweek.com What it's like to be in Venice during coronavirus lockdown Trump freaks out about all the wrong things California monitors more than 8,000 people for coronavirus


Posted in Uncategorized

MSNBC Benches Contributor Who Smeared Bernie Sanders Staffers

MSNBC Benches Contributor Who Smeared Bernie Sanders StaffersFollowing MSNBC contributor Dr. Jason Johnson’s inflammatory remarks about supporters and campaign staffers of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the academic has been temporarily benched by the network, sources confirmed to The Daily Beast. In recent months, Johnson—a regular fixture of the network’s Democratic primary analysis—has drawn considerable heat for his relentlessly anti-Sanders commentary on MSNBC, which has also come under fire from the left for its skeptical and largely negative coverage of the democratic-socialist senator. During an interview last week on SiriusXM’s The Karen Hunter Show, Johnson claimed “racist white liberals” support Sanders and that the senator has done “nothing for intersectionality.” The MSNBC contributor then took aim at the women of color who work for Sanders. “I don’t care how many people from the island of misfit black girls you throw out there to defend you,” Johnson exclaimed.The remark prompted Sanders’ national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray to retort on Twitter: “I hope we can have political disputes without engaging in open racism and sexism. This misogynoir is disappointing, but not surprising from @DrJasonJohnson.”Johnson’s over-the-top remarks also sparked wider calls for MSNBC to fire him, but the network has not officially responded. Johnson’s temporary shelving included him not being involved in coverage of last weekend’s Nevada caucuses or the post-game coverage of Tuesday evening’s South Carolina debate, which aired on CBS. In an email to media outlets hyping its post-debate plans, Johnson’s name was nowhere to be found.The punishment appears to have also cost Johnson his chance to be on-air during the network’s coverage of this past Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, which Sanders won in a landslide.Johnson’s absence has been noticeable, as he has become a staple of MSNBC’s Democratic primary analysis roster. Prior to his benching, he made nearly 40 appearances on the network in 2020 alone. Besides being regularly featured on high-profile programs like Morning Joe, Deadline: White House, The Beat with Ari Melber, and The 11th Hour, MSNBC turned to him to provide analysis during last month’s impeachment trial, the early-state primary votes, and several Democratic primary debates.In fact, during last week’s Nevada debate, Johnson was a fixture on the network’s panels, beginning the day with an appearance on Morning Joe and staying on through MSNBC’s post-debate analysis, which didn’t wrap until after midnight.His most recent MSNBC appearance came during the Feb. 21 broadcast of The Last Word, which aired hours before his fateful radio interview that resulted in his benching.MSNBC declined to comment for this story.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Posted in Uncategorized

Moderates just blew their best shot to stop Bernie Sanders

Moderates just blew their best shot to stop Bernie SandersThe Democratic candidates seemed torn between attacking the Vermont senator and attacking each other. That benefited Sanders once againWho is the happy warrior?Apparently not a single one of the seven Democratic candidates locked in a doom-laden downward spiral in the final debate before Super Tuesday.The last Democrat to win the presidency printed posters with HOPE slapped all over them. Judging from Tuesday’s debate in South Carolina, most of the party’s leading voices are either breathless or hopeless.Yes, the stakes are high, after three years of the presidential dumpster fire called Donald Trump. But the stakes sound even higher if your presidential campaign is also on fire, as it seemed to be for just about everyone on stage.CBS News, the host of the verbal calamity that was Tuesday’s debate, helpfully placed the two least appealing candidates on the outer edges of the stage.It was a very finely balanced contest between billionaire Mike Bloomberg and billionaire Tom Steyer as to who could win the title of the most bizarre combination of arrogance and incompetence.In this live human experiment where we all watch wealthy old men burn their money in TV ads and political consultants, Bloomberg and Steyer could barely cough up their pre-digested punchlines.Bloomberg came out hot for Bernie, turning a question about his favorite subject – the economy – into a convoluted attack about Russian support. It was typical of a candidate who is most often described as data-driven because he is so clearly not human-driven.“Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that’s why Russia is helping you get elected, so you will lose to him,” said the former New York mayor.“Oh, Mr Bloomberg,” said Sanders. Oh Mr Bloomberg. Somehow his consultants didn’t predict that Sanders would look into the camera, accuse the billionaire of cozying up to China’s dictator, and tell Putin to go away.In contrast it often seemed like Tom Steyer walked on stage without speaking to a single consultant who could tell him the truth about his clunky concoction of a campaign.Steyer has no conceivable rationale for running since his call for impeaching Trump was overtaken by, well, impeachment. So he began by agreeing with the Democratic frontrunner before making a plea to save the private sector.“Bernie Sanders’ analysis is right. The difference is, I don’t like his solutions,” Steyer said. “I don’t believe that a government takeover of large parts of the economy makes any sense for working people or for families. I think what we need to do is to present an alternative that includes a vibrant, competitive private sector.”Thank goodness there are courageous billionaires like Steyer who speak up for the private sector. If only he didn’t look perpetually terrified by the prospect of remembering his own talking points.> Tuesday’s debate was the last best chance for the Sanders-chasers to catch his tail, but they seemed torn between attacking the Vermont senator and attacking each otherTuesday’s debate was the last best chance for the Sanders-chasers to catch his tail, but they seemed torn between attacking the Vermont senator and attacking each other. It’s hard to stay focused when you’re fighting for your political life.Joe Biden was standing next to Bernie Sanders in the center of the debate stage and the two old men did their best to sound like they were fighting over the last free seat on the subway.“You know, when we talk about progressive, let’s talk about being progressive,” Biden began, before freestyling with English grammar to create a mosaic of half-thoughts, swipes and slights.“Being progressive, he thought Barack Obama – he wanted a primary – he said we should primary Barack Obama, someone should, and, in fact, the president was weak and our administration was in fact not up to it. Look, folks, this is – let’s talk about progressive. Progressive is getting things done, and that’s what we got done. We got a lot done.”The only debaters who got anything done on stage on Tuesday were Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. But they both struggled to make the case for their own campaigns as well as they destroyed the case for their rivals.Warren said she agreed with Sanders “on a lot of things” but would just do a better job because she worked harder than he did. “Getting a progressive agenda enacted is going to be really hard,” she said, “and it’s going to take someone who digs into the details to make it happen.”It’s not exactly a killer argument at this late stage of the primaries, but Warren is clearly capable of crafting one of those. Once she turned to Bloomberg, Warren displayed the kind of search-and-destroy debating skills that turns businessmen into Big Gulps.After pointing out all of his donations to Trump allies in Congress, including South Carolina’s own Lindsey Graham, Warren said, “I don’t care how much money Mayor Bloomberg has. The core of the Democratic party will never trust him. He has not earned their trust. I will. And the fact that he cannot earn the trust of core of the Democratic party means he is the riskiest candidate standing on this stage.”There was a time, briefly, when the moderates – Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg – ganged up on the massive spending plans that Sanders has placed at the heart of his campaign. “A bunch of broken promises that sound good on bumper stickers,” said Klobuchar.But that was after she talked about working with Sanders to bring down drug prices and promoted her own “more affordable, non-profit public option”. Given the choice between Sanders and Sanders-lite, Democratic voters might just go for the option that fits on a bumper sticker.Mayor Pete made a solid, regular case for just about every solid, regular subject. If this were a contest in sounding reasonable, then Buttigieg would run away with the contest. But the metronomic mayor regulates his beat a little too precisely to have a true pulse.“If you think the last four years has been chaotic, divisive, toxic, exhausting, imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders v Donald Trump. Folks at home, from South Carolina to South Bend, are trying to figure out what any of this means for us,” he explained with a turn of phrase that was delivered just like it was written for him. All folksy and southy.Yes, he admitted, there was a progressive majority. “But, also, there’s a majority of the American people who I think right now just want to be able to turn on the TV, see their president, and actually feel their blood pressure go down a little bit, instead of up through the roof.”It takes a peculiar love of reason to think you can campaign against passion by pushing for lower blood pressure. Don’t get too excited now.As Bernie Sanders glided past the punches and counterpunches, Joe Biden stood center stage lamenting the state of the debate.“I guess the only way you do this is jump in and speak twice as long as you should,” said the former vice-president, sounding like he was just about getting a hang of this debate thing on the teevee.“Why am I stopping?” he asked mid-sentence, a little later, as his time ran out. “Nobody else stops.”How true. Nobody in this race is stopping even though Sanders has already passed them by.At least Bernie knows why he’s running. Most of the rest of them are like Joe Biden: they just think it’s their turn to talk. * Richard Wolffe is a Guardian US columnist


Posted in Uncategorized

Blagojevich’s Release Is a Chance to Tackle Corruption in Illinois

Blagojevich’s Release Is a Chance to Tackle Corruption in IllinoisNobody in Illinois politics wants Rod Blagojevich around.Blagojevich has been shunned by fellow Democrats such as the current governor, J. B. Pritzker, who called President Donald Trump's decision to commute his sentence an “abuse” of the pardon power. And the reception from Republicans has been no warmer: Illinois House minority leader Jim Durkin called Trump's decision “disappointing,” echoing the sentiments of the many state Republicans who had previously pleaded with the president not to release the former governor early.Sitting lawmakers, including Pritzker, want to wash their hands of the former governor, and that’s understandable from a political perspective. It's easy to point the finger at Blago, as if he were the real problem. But in truth he’s just one name in a long, seemingly endless line of figures associated with public corruption in Illinois. The problem is a system that's set up to be gamed by those who seek elected office to better themselves, rather than Illinoisans.Now more than ever, the Land of Lincoln needs to get serious about foundational ethics reforms to end its culture of corruption.In the past year alone, more than 30 Illinois lawmakers, businesses, and political figures were questioned, investigated, indicted, or convicted on federal corruption charges. All that corruption comes at a big price: Economic and policy experts at the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), where I serve as an editor, have estimated that it costs the state $550 million a year in lost economic opportunities. Harder to calculate is the cost to the state’s dignity and our collective good as a long line of corruption scandals has tarnished its name: * Four of the most recent eleven governors have gone to prison, and Pritzker is currently facing a federal probe over allegations that he removed toilets from a Chicago mansion in a scheme to save $331,000 in property taxes. * 30 Chicago aldermen have pleaded guilty to or been convicted of corruption since 1972. * Federal prosecutors logged 1,731 public corruption convictions between 1976 and 2017 in the Northern District of Illinois, the district that includes Chicago. * Illinois has seen 891 corruption convictions since 2000, or nearly one per week, making it the most corrupt state in the nation during that time.Just within the past year, federal corruption probes have nabbed two Chicago aldermen, two state senators, and a state representative, resulting in one conviction and one guilty plea thus far. There are about 30 politicians and lobbyists whose names have surfaced as part of the continuing federal investigation into a tangle of former lawmakers-turned-lobbyists, sitting public officials accused of doing lobbying work, and leaders, ranging from local townships up to the statehouse, trading favors and influence for cash, sex, or other private gain.Far from being inured to such chicanery, the vast majority of Illinoisans still see corruption as a big deal and want their politicians to model themselves after Honest Abe rather than Al Capone. When polled, Illinoisans have rated “cleaning up corruption in state government” as a higher priority than quality schools, crime reduction, a balanced budget, or lower taxes. The Illinois Education Association poll on voters’ priorities showed corruption rated the top score of ten from 69 percent of respondents, and 85 percent scored it at eight or above. And that poll was conducted nearly a year ago, before the latest investigations had picked up steam.The good news is that the systemic flaws that breed corruption in the state also make it ripe for reform. Blagojevich’s impeachment as governor led to a set of proposed changes, most of which have been gathering cobwebs since 2009, which would be a good start. In addition, the IPI has compiled its own list of recommendations: * Slowing the revolving door through restrictions on former state lawmakers’ becoming lobbyists. Currently, Illinois is one of only 14 states with no such restrictions, and the results of that shortcoming speak for themselves. * Empowering the Illinois legislative inspector general to investigate lawmakers’ corruption. As things stand now, the IG’s office is muzzled. It must seek approval from a panel of state lawmakers before opening investigations, issuing subpoenas, or publishing summary reports. The former IG has claimed that lawmakers prevented her from reporting on wrongdoing by at least one of their peers. * Forcing state lawmakers to recuse themselves from votes on matters in which they have a conflict of interest, rather than operating on the honor system. There is no current state law or even parliamentary rule requiring Illinois lawmakers to disclose a conflict of interest before a vote, much less to excuse themselves from voting on issues in which they have a personal financial stake. There is only a suggestion that they abstain in such cases. * Reforming the Illinois House rules, which grant more concentrated power to the House speaker than any other statehouse’s rules. Speaker Mike Madigan has been in power for 35 years and is also chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, giving him near-absolute power over state politics and finances, and over which bills become law. * Passing a bipartisan constitutional amendment to end politically drawn legislative maps in the state. In his 2016 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said, “We have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around.” The same goes for state legislative districts, which are drawn to keep incumbents safe and discourage challengers from giving voters a real choice at the polls.Illinois corruption reforms have been in limbo longer than Blagojevich was in prison. It is time to enact some into law and stop relying on the Department of Justice to root out wrongdoing. Fortunately, today these ethics reforms are back on the table in the state capitol, as fresh legislation exists with bipartisan support to actually effect the change that can address Illinois’s corruption problem.There’s no time like the present to fix the culture of corruption that’s plagued the Land of Lincoln since well before Blagojevich came on the scene. And there’s nowhere to go but up.


Posted in Uncategorized

Trump Allies’ Battle Over Senate Seat Prompts Republican Jitters

Trump Allies’ Battle Over Senate Seat Prompts Republican Jitters(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump so far hasn’t been able to head off a drawn-out Republican brawl for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia that pits two candidates he’s praised against each other and triggered jitters within the party about potentially losing the seat in November.The conflict’s been brewing since Georgia’s GOP Governor Brian Kemp chose businesswoman Kelly Loeffler in December to temporarily fill an open Senate seat, despite lobbying from the president to pick four-term GOP Representative Doug Collins, who’s now waging a primary fight.Collins last week rejected Trump’s attempt to lure him away from challenging Loeffler by floating the idea of making him a candidate to become the next U.S. spy chief. Hours after Trump made the surprise announcement, Collins said no. “I’m running a Senate race down here in Georgia,” he said.Collins has been an ardent Trump backer since the 2016 primaries and as the top Judiciary Committee Republican was prominently one of the president’s most vocal defenders during the House impeachment inquiry. Though Loeffler is new in the Capitol, she quickly picked up a Twitter habit that she’s used to praise Trump and bash his critics.The concern for Republicans is that a bitter fight between Republican candidates provides an opening for Democrats. The Georgia race is crucial to the GOP’s bid to keep the Senate majority it has held since 2015. Republicans will be defending 23 seats in November, compared with 12 for Democrats. A net pickup of four seats by Democrats would guarantee them the majority.‘Jungle Primary’The Georgia contest isn’t a typical Republican primary that chooses a nominee to run against a Democrat. Instead, multiple candidates from both parties will compete in a wide-open “jungle primary” on Nov. 3. It’s to fill the last two years of the term Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, who resigned for health reasons.If no candidate wins a majority, a runoff election between the top two vote-getters will be set for Jan. 5. While Republicans hold a statewide edge in voting, some in the party worry a Loeffler-Collins battle could divide GOP voters and make it easier for a Democrat to win.Republicans have quickly taken sides.Collins, who has represented northeastern Georgia in the House since 2013, is a well-known fixture on Fox News and other conservative outlets. He’s backed by high-profile conservatives including former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the state’s 2008 presidential primary, American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp, Fox News host Sean Hannity, and conservative radio host Mark Levin. Collins has been invited to speak this week at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference run by Schlapp outside Washington. Loeffler isn’t on the line-up.On The AttackCollins and his allies have launched broadsides against Loeffler as politically untested and anything but a Trump Republican, flagging her past support for Utah’s GOP Senator Mitt Romney. They’ve even questioned her depiction as a hunter in a posed ad with a shotgun over one shoulder, mocking her expensive outfit and saying she doesn’t have a Georgia hunting license.Loeffler’s campaign notes that Collins briefly was state chairman for former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for president in 2015.“Sending an untried and untested candidate against the Democrats could very well be a disaster. Doug is anything but untried and untested,” said Dan McLagan, a campaign spokesman for Collins.Loeffler, as the incumbent, has support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee controlled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The committee’s policy is to blacklist any political companies that work for candidates challenging a GOP incumbent.That has upset the Collins campaign, which accused the NRSC of trying to shut down competition.“Collins is everything Georgians hate about Washington,” NRSC Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin responded. “He is a swamp creature that claims to be conservative.” McLaughlin added, “Now, having made an emotional, ill-informed and selfish decision, he finds himself at a crossroads.”Lining Up SupportLoeffler also is working to build support among conservatives. Along with the support of Georgia’s governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, she is backed by conservative Senators Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, as well as the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, which is running a $3 million ad campaign against Collins.Trump has tried to walk down the middle. He praised Loeffler and Collins early this month for supporting him during his impeachment, and suggested he’d find a way to make both of them happy.“Something’s going to happen that’s going to be very good. I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out yet,” Trump said at a Feb. 6 White House event. His attempt to do so Thursday by saying Collins is under consideration for the job of director of national intelligence fell flat.After the news of Trump’s remarks that he was considering Collins for the intelligence job, Kemp’s press secretary, Cody Hall, tweeted a thinly veiled taunt.Kemp’s appointment of Loeffler was an unusual bit of defiance from a Republican office-holder.But Loeffler is viewed as more likely to halt the erosion of GOP support from women in the Atlanta suburbs, said Mark Rountree, a Georgia-based Republican political consultant not tied to either the Loeffler or Collins campaign.Loeffler owns the WNBA’s Atlanta team and is married to Jeffrey Sprecher, CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, parent firm of the New York Stock Exchange. She’s also served as chief communications and marketing officer for Intercontinental Exchange, which operates global commodity and financial products marketplaces, and later was CEO of Bakkt, an ICE unit that trades Bitcoin futures.In the Senate she’s now a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over some aspects of Intercontinental Exchange businesses, prompting some Collins’ backers to raise questions about possible conflicts of interest.“She’s got to define herself to voters and she’s got to do it quickly, because he’s trying to define her first,” said Andra Gillespie, a political science professor at Emory University in Atlanta.Campaign MoneyLoeffler has pledged $20 million of her own fortune for her campaign. Her main objective now is to show that money isn’t the only reason why she got the job. She’s spending $2.6 million on ads to introduce herself to Georgians.“I’ve only been in Washington a few weeks, and it’s even worse than you thought,” she says in one spot. “I’ve spent my life in business, not politics. Grew up on our family farm, working in the fields, showing cattle.”There’s no up-to-date polling on a head-to-head contest between the two Republicans. A University of Georgia poll released last week found that Loeffler’s favorability rating had climbed almost even with Collins’s, with about one-third of the voters viewing them both favorably. Her favorability rating in the same poll in January was 12 percentage points behind Collins.Georgia’s other senator, Republican David Perdue, will also be on the November ballot, seeking a second term. Trump won the state by 5 percentage points in 2016.State Democrats appear to be coalescing behind a single candidate. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has endorsed Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Two other Democrats, Matt Lieberman and former U.S Attorney Ed Tarver, have also announced Senate campaigns.Gillespie of Emory University said that having two Republican candidates for one Senate seat, in a non-partisan primary, “guarantees that a Republican can’t win in a walk, not on the first ballot.”(Updates with Collins formerly backing Walker in 11th paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Posted in Uncategorized

Mike Pence’s 2024 Presidential Campaign Has Already Begun

Mike Pence’s 2024 Presidential Campaign Has Already Begun(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s bid for a second term in office is giving Vice President Mike Pence an early edge in the race that’s already shaping up for the Republican nomination in 2024.Pence has lately been a mainstay at Trump’s signature campaign rallies, seldom missing the opportunity to introduce the president while test-driving a few crowd-pleasing lines of his own. The vice president has his own political action committee and has been steadily expanding his travel as a surrogate for Trump, with a particular focus on Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.He’s scheduled to embark on a bus tour through Michigan on Tuesday without the president, who’s in India. It will include a speech to supporters in a hotel ballroom -- a sort of mini-rally.People in and around the White House believe it’s a foregone conclusion that Pence will seek to succeed Trump. But he hasn’t firmly decided, and his nomination, let alone his election, are much less certain.“He’s entirely focused on re-electing Donald Trump in 2020,” said Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short.While 14 U.S. vice presidents have ascended to the White House, eight of them got there thanks to the death of the leader they served. Pence’s chances in 2024 would be undercut by a Trump loss this year; for better or worse, his loyalty to Trump binds him to the president.Long-Term Goal“There’s no question that would be something Mike Pence would want to do; the question is where the Republican Party will be by the time he has the opportunity,” said Andrea Neal, author of “Pence: The Path to Power.” Some of Pence’s sixth-grade classmates recall him saying he wanted to be president, she said.Taking the stage after the vice president at a rally last week in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Trump thanked Pence for the introduction.“I heard he gave a great speech. I never want it to be too good. I never want it to be too good,” Trump said, wagging his finger. “I said ‘Mike, take it easy. It can’t be too good.’ Mike is great.”Trump knows Pence is ramping up for a potential bid in 2024 and doesn’t mind, officials said.2024 CompetitionDuring a trip to South Carolina earlier this month -- a state that’s considered safe for Trump in 2020 -- Pence met privately with Walter Whetsell, a political consultant he knows from his time in Congress, said a person familiar with the matter. Whetsell couldn’t be reached for comment.Pence’s remarks introducing the president at a rally in Las Vegas on Friday were littered with nods toward Trump slogans -- “Make America Great Again,” “Keep America Great,” and “Build That Wall.” But he also repeatedly used a word uncommon to Trump: “faith.”A staunchly pro-life Christian and conservative, Pence has bedrock support among evangelicals and other pillars of the Trump base. But a wide-open Republican field is expected to take shape in 2024, regardless of who wins this year, probably featuring former Trump administration officials and a crop of recently elected and ambitious Republican lawmakers.Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo are seen as almost-certain candidates; other possibilities mentioned by Republican strategists include Senators Rick Scott of Florida, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Josh Hawley of Missouri, as well as the governors of Texas and Florida, Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.“The constituency that he has sewed up may not be big enough for him to win the party’s nomination on his own,” Neal said of Pence.Unfailing LoyaltyInside the administration, Pence, 60, is know for his unfailing loyalty to Trump. The vice president is wary of saying anything publicly that could be interpreted as criticism, and is steadfast in quoting the president’s own statements on thornier subjects. The two speak almost daily, often privately. Any advice or suggestions Pence might have for the president are delivered only in those private exchanges, aides say.Among some Trump advisers there’s a sense that Pence, the former Indiana congressman and governor, lacks the showman’s instincts of his boss, to his detriment with the base of supporters that’s coalesced around Trump, the former reality TV star and real estate developer.While Trump basks in the limelight of rallies, TV appearances and firing off incendiary tweets, Pence thrives more on the ground -- his recent campaign travels have included stops at diners, coffee shops and VFW halls, the kind of grip-and-grin retail politics that the president has never embraced.Big TipperIn Wisconsin in November, Pence stopped his motorcade in the middle of a road to get out and take photos with children who’d gathered outside their school. Later in the same trip, he made an unannounced stop at a diner, Mickey-Lu-Bar-B-Q, and ordered cheeseburgers for himself and a local congressman.The waitress asked what toppings he’d like. “Load me up,” Pence replied.Back in Washington, the fight over Trump’s impeachment raged. “We are with you all the way,” one woman said at the diner, leaning in to clutch Pence’s hand. Her son had been at a shipyard where Pence had spoken earlier in the day.“They’re growing,” Pence said of the shipyard. “Did you know that?”His cheeseburgers arrived, wrapped in white paper. He handed the waitress $20 -- a tip of some $14 -- before eating and dashing off.In December, Pence made a bus tour through Pennsylvania, another key electoral battleground. He returned to the state after Trump’s State of the Union speech earlier this month.‘Division of Labor’Pence is trusted by both social and small-government conservatives, said David McIntosh, the president of the Club for Growth, which pressures Republicans to support lower taxes and reduced government spending. The vice president “thrives” at conventional retail politics, he said, freeing up Trump to headline large-scale campaign rallies.“It’s a good division of labor,” said McIntosh, a fellow Hoosier who preceded Pence in representing Indiana’s second congressional district.Pence makes time on his travels to meet with local Republican Party leaders, city officials and legislators -- all crucial to building an election ground game, McIntosh said. He also courts input from conservative groups, including consulting on competitive House and Senate races.“One of the things Mike does extremely well here in D.C. is make sure the national conservative groups feel heard in the White House,” McIntosh said.Even in Trump’s long shadow he’s had signature moments. In September, Pence abruptly flew to Turkey to negotiate a cease-fire between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s military and U.S. Kurdish allies after Trump abruptly ordered American forces withdrawn from northern Syria.Taking on ChinaPence has also been the most forceful critic of Chinese human rights abuses in the Trump administration, delivering a speech in October criticizing Beijing’s crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. The Chinese government called the speech “lies.”In late January, Pence flew to Israel and Italy to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis. On the way home, his aircraft stopped at Shannon Airport in Ireland to refuel at the same time as a plane carrying U.S. soldiers deploying to the Middle East.“I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to get off Air Force 2 and tell you how grateful we are for each and every one of you,” Pence told the soldiers. He discussed the U.S. strike on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, now a staple of Trump’s re-election speeches, telling the troops that by all accounts Iran was standing down.“Beyond that, I’m just gonna take as many selfies as you all got time to do,” Pence said.\--With assistance from Jordan Fabian.To contact the reporters on this story: Josh Wingrove in Washington at jwingrove4@bloomberg.net;Mario Parker in Washington at mparker22@bloomberg.net;Jennifer Jacobs in Washington at jjacobs68@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Posted in Uncategorized