Speculation that President Trump would swap his loyal 2016 running mate Mike Pence for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was largely torpedoed over the weekend when the president confirmed that the team will be back together for round two in 2020.
Speaking with Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" on Sunday, President Trump said that Mike Pence has been "terrific" and will be his 2020 running mate, reports The Hill.
"When you were asked about Mike Pence in 2024 and you, and you, and you paused a minute about endorsing him as your successor, that got a lot of people going, 'Is Mike Pence 100 percent on your ticket in 2020?'" host Chuck Todd asked the president.
"Well, look, look — 100 percent, yes," Trump replied.
"100 percent?" Todd asked.
"Oh yeah," replied Trump.
"There is no wiggle room?" Todd shot back.
"He's been, he’s been a terrific vice president. He's my friend and … No. Zero. Zero," Trump replied.
When Chuck Todd asked why Trump appeared to hesitate when endorsing Pence as his successor, he said it was simply a surprise question.
"Because it was a surprise question," the president said. "I mean, you know, I’m not even thinking of it. It's so far out. I mean, it's so far out. That would be the only reason. Now what happens in 2024? I don't know that Mike is going to run. I don't know who's running or anything else."
Earlier this month, during an appearance on "Fox & Friends," President Trump did not say whether or not he would give Mike Pence an endorsement in 2024 if he were to run. "You're talking about a long time. You can't put me in that position,” Trump said.
The president did, however, say that Pence is a "very, very outstanding" person and would give his candidacy a "strong consideration." The Hill noted that insiders say Trump and Pence have a solid working relationship.
"Trump and Pence are believed to have a close working relationship, with the president often offering public praise for his top lieutenant," reports the outlet. "Pence has spent time on the road touting the administration's accomplishments, both ahead of the 2018 midterms as well as the upcoming elections in 2020."
Despite the president's "100 percent" assurance that Pence would be on the 2020 ticket, The Wall Street Journal released an op-ed on Sunday from Andrew Stein, the founder of the "Democrats for Trump" movement in 2016, in which he argued that Nikki Haley would fare better for Trump in the general election.
"I mean no disrespect for Mr. Pence, who’s loyally served the president and the nation. But he’s given Mr. Trump all the help he can. He inspired his fellow evangelical Christians to take a chance in 2016," said Stein. "But in 2020 they’ll already be repelled by the Democrats’ embrace of infanticide. Mr. Trump’s greater obstacle to re-election comes from politically moderate suburban women, many of whom see him as divisive."
Following the op-ed, people in the media began pushing the narrative that Haley may indeed replace Pence in 2020.