Speed Reads

Pence Watch

Mike Pence is quietly building himself his own political apparatus — and it's making Trump aides nervous

It's been a minute since there was speculation that Vice President Mike Pence might be setting himself up as a "shadow candidate" to replace President Trump in 2020, although a pair of reports out Monday might get those wheels spinning again.

First, Pence's PAC has reportedly snapped up Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, from the pro-Trump group America First Policies. Fox News says the transition was made with Trump's blessing and describes the move as "sending a signal that there's no daylight between [Pence] and his boss, despite some media chatter that the PAC could help further his own ambitions if Trump winds up not running again." The New York Times has separately characterized Pence's PAC as an effort to build "his own political apparatus."

In that same report, the Times notes that there has been some tension between Trump's aides and Pence's this year. Notably, Trump squashed Pence's attempt to hire Republican pollster Jon Lerner earlier this year after he learned Lerner's role in launching attacks on him during the 2016 campaign. "The quick dismissal of Mr. Lerner was widely seen as a brushback against Mr. Pence and [the vice president's chief of staff, Nick] Ayers, a way for Mr. Trump's advisers to signal that they were closely watching the vice president's office," the Times writes. "Two senior White House officials said the Lerner episode made Mr. Trump more acutely aware of what these aides described as Mr. Pence's empire-building."

Read the case for why Pence should go rouge, and an analysis of what a Pence presidency might look like, here at The Week.