I’ll bet they’re whispering, but their relative closeness to the White House seems more debatable. Buried deep in a New York Times report on the disagreement over further sanctions on Russia is a strange nugget about presidential ambitions in 2020 of people not named Donald Trump:
A former governor of South Carolina, Ms. Haley has assumed a more prominent role than most of her predecessors, at times eclipsing the secretary of state. And along the way, Mr. Trump has grown suspicious of her ambition, convinced that she had been angling for Mr. Tillerson’s position and increasingly wondering whether she wants his own job.
Republicans close to the White House whisper about the prospect of an alliance between Ms. Haley and Vice President Mike Pence, possibly to run as a ticket in 2020.
Aides to both scoff at such suggestions, but the slightest hint of such a pairing would be likely to enrage Mr. Trump, who has made it clear that he plans to run for re-election. The talk was exacerbated in recent days when Mr. Pence named Jon Lerner, Ms. Haley’s deputy, as his new national security adviser, while allowing him to keep his job at the United Nations.
Which way would the ticket go? Alex Griswold wonders, too:
wow, I can't believe Pence wants to be vice president again https://t.co/Ln3ji0Gl9k
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) April 18, 2018
Aides scoffed at the suggestion? So would everyone else, which leaves the question as to who exactly is “whispering” about Pence/Haley 2020. If they’re in the White House, they owe their jobs to Donald Trump. If they’re not in the White House, they should realize that Haley, at least, also owes her job to Donald Trump. Pence was directly elected into his position, but Pence has also made it very clear that he owes Trump loyalty for selecting him as a running mate.
And, in fact, Lerner’s out for that reason:
“Tonight Jon informed the vice president that he was withdrawing from coming on board as national security adviser. Vice President Pence holds Jon Lerner in the highest regard and expressed his deep gratitude for Jon’s willingness to consider joining our team,” said Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, in a statement.
Pence had tapped Lerner, who currently serves as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley’s deputy, to serve as his national security adviser. But, according to a report from Axios, Trump learned of Lerner’s background with the conservative Club for Growth, which ran anti-Trump ads in 2016, and was “furious” Pence wanted to bring Lerner onto his team.
Fortunately for Lerner, he’s staying on with Haley. But back to this “whisper” campaign for Pence/Haley — or is it Haley/Pence? — and its provenance. One could make an assumption about the latter based on the fact that it comes twenty-three paragraphs into the piece. If this was a serious conversation, it wouldn’t have gotten buried below the fold. This kind of wishful thinking seems so unserious that one has to wonder why it was included at all.