Analysis reveals what is key about the GOP response to Trump vs. Pence feud

Analysis reveals what is key about the GOP response to Trump vs. Pence feud
Trump and Pence/Shutterstock

What is not being said about the ongoing feud between Donald Trump and Mike Pence is key to understanding the internal dynamics of the GOP, according to a new analysis in The Washington Post.

The feud recently blew up — more than one year after Pence refused Trump's pleas to overturn the election — when Trump released a statement admitting it was his goal to overturn the election and saying Pence should be investigated for not overturning the election.

"President Trump is wrong," Pence said in response. "I had no right to overturn the election."

"The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone," Pence explained. "And frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president. Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election."

Philip Bump wrote for The Post that the back-and-forth put Republicans on the spot to choose a side.

"In the days since Pence’s speech, we’ve seen a familiar pattern emerge: Most Republicans aren’t terribly eager to talk about the issue, but those who do aren’t terribly eager to agree with Trump," he wrote. "Some Republicans are explicitly rejecting Trump’s assertion. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), for example, said on CBS’s 'Face the Nation' that he disagreed with Trump’s loosely formed legal opinion — and noted that it creates a slippery slope."

However, he noted former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley took Trump's side.

"One Republican says the results of a presidential election can be unilaterally rejected by one of that election’s losers. Another says they cannot," he noted. "Why must there be all of this intraparty fighting with the midterm elections looming?!"

Bump noted Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) have all sided with Trump, while former New Jersey governor Chris Christie criticized the former president.

"Since 2015, the pattern within the Republican Party has been to figure out how to make Trump’s more extreme positions morally, rhetorically or logically palatable. So we get the obviously untrue claims about rampant voter fraud repackaged as concerns about increased access to voting, for example. Here, though, there’s not really a compromise position. Either Pence could have simply rejected cast ballots or he couldn’t. And, presented with that yes-or-no question, it doesn’t yet seem that Republicans are eager to flatly say yes," he explained.

Read the full analysis.

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