Last night Mike Pence appeared on the VP debate stage with what looked like pink eye, a common symptom of coronavirus. Then this afternoon Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced she’s holding a 25th Amendment event tomorrow. Now Pence is suddenly canceling his campaign events and heading home to Washington DC.
There are only two plausible explanations for what’s going on here, and either of them would be terrible for Donald Trump. The first would be that Mike Pence has coronavirus, which would mean that he knew he was sick when he took the debate stage last night, which would be a huge scandal. It would deliver a severe blow to whatever remote odds Trump and Pence might have left of winning.
The other explanation would be that Pence is returning to DC in response to Pelosi’s 25th Amendment move. It makes sense when you consider the timing of Pence’s abrupt change in schedule, and the fact that he’s the only one who can forcibly invoke it against Trump. Perhaps the GOP wants Pence back in town because it’s afraid Trump might not last the day. Or perhaps Trump has ordered Pence to come home and announce in a speech that he won’t invoke the 25th under any circumstances.
Either of these explanations – that Mike Pence has coronavirus, or that the 25th Amendment really is being taken seriously by someone involved – would be stunning. Yet seemingly one or the other has to be the case. We’ll find out tomorrow, when Pence either goes into hiding, which would mean he’s sick, or does something in relation to the 25th Amendment.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report