As Trump's presidency collapses, Republican insiders are reportedly laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential ticket of Mike Pence and Nikki Haley.
Some nervous Republicans are reportedly making contingency plans for the 2020 presidential election. As Trump's presidency unravels, they are quietly considering a new ticket featuring Mike Pence and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
The New York Times reports that "Republicans close to the White House whisper about the prospect of an alliance between" Haley and Pence, "possibly to run as a ticket in 2020."
The Times cites the recent incident involving Haley's deputy Jon Lerner, named as Pence's national security adviser. Trump found out that Lerner made anti-Trump ads at the right-wing Club for Growth. Soon after, Lerner left the job.
Talk of Pence running in 2020 angers Trump, who effectively began running for re-election as soon as he was sworn in.
But for months, Pence has made moves both overtly and covertly that would position him for a run for Trump's office.
He has spent the last year visiting Republican activists and elected officials in states that would be key to a presidential run. By comparison, Trump's travel schedule has been far more limited.
At the same time, Pence operates his own super PAC, and has used the organization to give out money to candidates. Traditionally, such donations come with the expectation of support in a future run. He has even hosted deep-pocketed Republican donors at his official residence.
From time to time, Pence has lashed out at public reporting about his shadow campaign. But he hasn't actually dismantled any of the elements involved.
Haley is a high-profile figure on the right. Before assuming her role at the United Nations, she served as governor of South Carolina. She has often been discussed as a future presidential candidate in the Republican Party.
Neither of them are likely to completely distance themselves from Trump. Notably, Pence was part of the decision-making process behind some of the key scandals of the Trump administration.
He led the team that vetted disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. And he ignored the red flags that led to Flynn's firing and later his indictment and guilty plea.
But their fellow Republicans plainly see Pence and Haley as part of an emergency plan. And thanks to Trump's corruption and incompetence, they appear to believe the pair can rescue the party from looming danger.