'The vice president doesn't want to go down with this ship,' a senior administration official said.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife received the coronavirus vaccine live on camera on Friday in what the Trump administration called an effort to assure Americans of the vaccine's safety.
Pence has been more or less silent on Trump's attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election since Nov. 3 except for a few public appearances that seemed designed to shore up his base and protect his political future.
In addition to his public support for the COVID-19 vaccine, Pence hosted a "Life is Winning" event at the White House Wednesday to highlight the anti-abortion accomplishments of the Trump administration, for which Pence has long been credited and revered by the far right.
"Mike Pence is the 24-karat-gold model of what we want in an evangelical politician,” Richard Land, a Trump faith adviser and president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, told the Atlantic in 2018. "I don't know anyone who's more consistent in bringing his evangelical-Christian worldview to public policy."
Pence has also been hitting the campaign trail in Georgia, stumping for Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in their bids for reelection in runoff elections on Jan. 5.
But if there's one thing Pence hasn't been doing, it's rallying behind Trump's efforts to steal the election.
Some experts have seen this has a calculated move to secure his political future — and the possibility of a 2024 presidential bid.
Thomas Gift, director of the Centre on U.S. Politics at University College London, told Newsweek, "Pence, by definition, will carry much of the baggage associated with Trump's presidency. But if he does want to run in 2024—which doesn't seem at all like a foregone conclusion—abandoning Trump now would almost certainly make that bid untenable."
"Anti-Trumpers would reject him because of his long association with their nemesis, while Trump loyalists also wouldn't support him because he turned his back against their hero," Gift added.
Pence gave lip service to a few of Trump's efforts to overturn the election, including allowing his name to be signed to related fundraising emails.
But he also remained silent when reporters asked him about Trump's false election fraud claims, and planned to leave Washington, D.C., on a trip to Florida immediately after the election, although he later canceled it.
And in contrast to Trump's endless Twitter rants about the election, Pence has only taken to the platform to mention "election irregularities" a few times since Nov. 3. Twice he retweeted articles about it without commentary.
The Daily Beast reported that fundraising emails from Pence on behalf of the Trump campaign have stopped.
"Since Nov. 25, not a single fundraising email from the Trump campaign or its Republican National Committee fundraising account has featured Pence's name in the 'from' field," the outlet reported.
And, it added, in December the Make America Great Again Committee replaced its Trump-Pence logo with one featuring only Trump's name.
Politico has noted that while Pence will have to oversee the congressional session confirming President-elect Joe Biden's win in the Electoral College, it looks like he plans to leave Washington immediately afterward, reporting that government documents indicate he may be headed to Bahrain, Israel, and Poland. A colleague of Pence's told Politico, "I suspect the timing is anything but coincidental."
And while Pence has claimed to support the failed Texas lawsuit that 17 states pursued to overturn the election, with Trump's support, others in the administration say he is not on board with attempts to overturn the election.
A senior administration official told the Daily Beast that "it is an open secret" among those in the Trump administration that Pence "absolutely does not feel the same way about the legal effort as President Trump does."
"The vice president doesn't want to go down with this ship," the official said.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.