The Trump reelection campaign is desperate, and they’re running out of possible strategies for getting President Donald Trump a second term in office, so they’re considering even the wildest theories about what might provide the boost they need to get past the twin failures of his response to the coronavirus and the fact that the economy is in a deep recession.
All of this, according to the New York Times, led to a senior adviser suggesting that Vice President Mike Pence be dumped from the ticket and replaced by a woman.
The idea began last month when Trump went to South Dakota for a July 4th celebration with Mount Rushmore as a backdrop. During that visit, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) seemed to be lobbying for the job as Pence’s replacement:
“In private, the efforts to charm Mr. Trump were more pointed, according to a person familiar with the episode: Ms. Noem greeted him with a four-foot replica of Mount Rushmore that included a fifth presidential likeness: his.”
A few weeks later, Noem made a special trip to the White House, setting off even more speculation that she was indeed auditioning to be Trump’s running mate. Instead, she wound up having to reassure Pence she wasn’t angling for his gig:
“Word had circulated through the Trump administration that she was ingratiating herself with the president, fueling suspicions that there might have been a discussion about her serving as his running mate in November. Ms. Noem assured Mr. Pence that she wanted to help the ticket however she could, according to an official present.
“She never stated it directly, but the vice president found her message clear: She was not after his job.”
But that was far from the end of the matter.
A senior adviser, the Times notes, agreed that Pence should indeed be given the boot in favor of a woman so that the GOP could make a last-ditch effort to woo suburban women voters:
“One senior Trump adviser has recently lamented to others that Mr. Trump could have boosted his re-election campaign had he replaced Mr. Pence with a woman, according to people familiar with the conversations. One potential candidate mentioned was Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador who is close to the president’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.”
While it seems unlikely that Pence will be dumped this late in the 2020 race, the incident with Noem highlights just how deeply frustrated the Trump campaign is with the way the race is progressing so far. They’re looking for instant lightning in a bottle, but they’re stuck with the same orange fool and his adoring sidekick.