Donald Trump’s fate is pretty straightforward: if he loses the 2020 election, he’ll be immediately indicted – if not at the federal level then certainly at the state level – and he’ll end up in prison for the rest of his life. Mike Pence’s fate is significantly more complicated. But Pence’s day of reckoning just arrived, quite a bit earlier than we were expecting.
It all started when the 25th Amendment began trending on Twitter, as a result of Trump’s increasingly erratic and deranged behavior. This isn’t the first time it’s trended, of course, and no one has exactly been expecting Mike Pence to actually go through with invoking the 25th. What made things different this time is that just as the trend was reaching its peak, Nikki Haley suddenly tweeted that people should stop spreading rumors about her replacing Pence on the 2020 ticket. Wait, say what?
To be clear, no such rumors were being passed around, at least at any detectable level, at the time Nikki Haley decided to significantly amplify the whole thing. Haley might as well have held up a sign that said “Hey Donald, put me on the ticket in Pence’s place, wink wink, nudge nudge.”
It’s not clear why Haley is suddenly trying to convince Trump to put her on the ticket, in public no less. Perhaps they’ve already discussed it privately, and Haley is sending the bat signal that it’s finally time. The kicker is this: Trump seems to like Haley a lot, to the point that he never dares to fire back at her whenever she publicly pushes back against his policies and behavior. If she’s pushing him to be on the ticket, he could actually do it – particularly considering that his 2020 poll numbers are so atrocious, he has little to lose by rolling the dice at this point.
The bottom line is that Mike Pence is facing increasing public pressure (and perhaps pressure from the GOP leadership) to invoke the 25th Amendment at a time when the possibility of him being dropped from the 2020 ticket just became plausible. Could this motivate Pence to go ahead and do it? Is he delusional enough to think that if he became “president” in this manner, he could somehow turn around and win in 2020? Or perhaps Pence will decide to simply disappear, and hope that history will have forgotten him by the time Trump and others in the regime are being sent to prison. Either way, Pence’s day of reckoning has arrived, and he’s got some choices to make.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report