During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s running mate, soon-to-be Vice President Mike Pence, “made it clear” that he was willing to take Trump’s place following the release of the toxic Access Hollywood tape in October 2016.
Mckay Coppins, a staff writer at The Atlantic was first to break the story. He published a profile on Pence which tracked his political career. According to Coppins, following the Access Hollywood scandal, Trump and his people believed “Mike Pence suddenly seemed at risk of going rogue.”
“Trump’s phone calls to his running mate reportedly went unreturned, and anonymous quotes began appearing in news stories describing Pence as “beside himself” over the revelation. … It’s been reported that Pence sent Trump a letter saying he needed time to decide whether he could stay with the campaign. But in fact, according to several Republicans familiar with the situation, he wasn’t just thinking about dropping out—he was contemplating a coup.”
The article also claims that several GOP billionaire donors were plotting to offer Trump a buyout (bribe) to bow out of the race. They were even toying with the idea of a Mike Pence-Condoleeza Rice ticket. Coppins details a meeting in which Trump asked Reince Priebus his opinion concerning the negative impact the tape had on his campaign. According to the report, Priebus advised Trump to drop out.
“According to someone who was present, Priebus added that Pence and Rice were “ready to step in.” (An aide to the vice president denied that Pence sent Trump a letter and that he ever talked with the RNC about becoming the nominee. Priebus did not respond to requests for comment.)”
Coppins also notes that Pence’s near-rebellion was not just political it was also deeply personal.
“He was genuinely shocked by the Access Hollywood tape. In the short time they’d known each other, Trump had made an effort to convince Pence that—beneath all the made-for-TV bluster and bravado—he was a good-hearted man with faith in God. On the night of the vice-presidential debate, for example, Trump had left a voicemail letting Pence know that he’d just said a prayer for him. The couple was appalled by the video, however. Karen in particular was “disgusted,” says a former campaign aide. “She finds him reprehensible—just totally vile.”
If this report is accurate, that means that Trump will likely also have to worry about his vice president and others scheming behind his back in addition to Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s deepening investigation.
Just imagine how tense this year’s White House Christmas party will be if Trump heard about this from Steve Bannon?
Featured image via Alex Wong / Staff Getty Images
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