Trump questions Pence's loyalty
President Donald Trump is reportedly questioning the loyalty of Vice President Mike Pence as the commander-in-chief pushes ever more extreme measures to overturn his election loss.
After another round of White House scheming with right-wing allies, Trump is focused on the vice president’s largely ceremonial role of presiding over a Jan. 6 session of Congress to seal the results of the vote, Axios reported Tuesday, citing White House aides.
“Trump (views) Pence performing his constitutional duty - and validating the election result - as the ultimate betrayal,” Axios reported.
The increasingly paranoid president mentioned a Dec. 8 television ad from the #NeverTrump Lincoln Project that predicted Pence would eventually dump Trump and seal President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
The ad, which Axios reported has rattled Trump, said the conservative veep is “running away from you Donald. And on January 6, @VP will preside over the vote proving @joebiden beat you.”
Trump is also fed up with White House counsel Pat Cipollone and chief of staff Mark Meadows, whom he views as less than 100% committed to his dead-end fight to overturn the election, according to reports.
While the rest of the country is focused on the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn, Trump and Pence and other top aides were meeting Monday with a group of far right-wing Republican lawmakers to strategize on ways to discredit the election results.
Among the top options would be getting Republicans in the House and Senate to object to the results of the Electoral College sealing Biden’s win.
Some Trump acolytes are also promoting an unconstitutional effort to seize voting machines in swing states that Biden won or declaring martial law and ordering new votes in those states.
Outgoing Attorney General William Barr has already said he would oppose any extreme measures, but he will be replaced on Wednesday. Incoming acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen will immediately face pressure from Trump to be more pliant.
Trump showed the GOP lawmakers a slide presentation that trashed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a turncoat for congratulating Biden on his victory, the news site said.
One slide suggested anyone who bucks Trump’s demands would face the wrath of his devoted #MAGA supporters.
“Mitch ... was the first one (to jump) ship!” the slide read, detailing McConnell’s rise in polls after Trump backed his reelection.
Biden won the election with 306 electoral votes. He beat Trump by 7 million votes nationwide.
But Trump keeps floating unfounded conspiracy theories about the results even as courts have rejected dozens of spurious legal claims.
Insiders say the final month of Trump’s presidency is likely to only get more tumultuous as he demands his lieutenants take more and more outrageous steps to demonstrate their loyalty.
They said it’s not surprising that Trump finally trained his ire on Pence, who has successfully walked a political tightrope during his term.
“This is who Trump is,” Elizabeth Neumann, a former Trump homeland security official, said on CNN. “His priorities are not what’s best for the country but what’s best for him.”