Mike Pence will be running for re-election as vice-president. In most circles, this is quite a surprise. The issue has nothing to do with what Pence did or did not do. Overall, he has been a good vice president who has somehow managed to avoid looking like another Trump sycophant, while managing not to antagonize Trump. That’s quite an achievement. Nonetheless, Trump is not exactly known for his loyalty, and Niki Haley would seem to have been a much better fit in today’s political environment.
Trump, however, had no choice. He recently learned, to his shock and dismay, that there’s a toughness to Pence that he did not anticipate. As we know, Trump is terrified of being indicted once he is no longer president. He has floated the idea that he can pardon himself of any federal crimes that he might be charged with---and he might be right or he might be wrong. One thing is clear, however. Pence, if he were to become president, could clearly pardon Trump. That had Trump and his attorneys eyeing a loophole. Assume that the president is not reelected. In that scenario, he resigns his office, effective at 8 AM on January 20, 2021, and Pence assumes the presidency until noon that day when Biden would be inaugurated.
During Pence’s four hours as president, he would pardon Trump.
Unfortunately, for Trump, Pence rejected that proposal and made clear that there were two deal points. The first is that Trump sticks with him as his vice presidential nominee. The second is that Trump resigns his office no later than December 15, 2020. Pence knows a bit of history, and is not going to agree to any deal that would have him with the shortest tenure in U.S. history. That honor belongs to William Henry Harrison, the nation’s ninth president, who served for all of 31 days.
Undoubtedly, Joe Biden will challenge that record should he prevail in November. Kamala Harris is already busy devising schemes to have Biden removed from office in short order should she be the vice president in January 2021.
Does all this sound like a stretch? Maybe, but is there a better explanation for why Trump is sticking with Pence?