Over the past week, President Donald Trump has been involved in a series of scandals, including his firing of FBI Director James Comey, his alleged leak of classified information to Russian officials, and reports that he urged Comey to drop an investigation into a top aide. Now, members of the GOP establishment are reportedly whispering about the possibility of pushing Trump aside so that Mike Pence can be president.
“If what the [New York Times] reported is true, Pence is probably rehearsing,” one House Republican who asked not to be named told Politico. “It’s just like Nixon. From the standpoint that it’s never the underlying issue, it is always the cover-up.”
Some Republicans are reportedly growing weary of defending Trump and believe that Pence looks like a particularly good alternative right now. Erick Erickson, a conservative pundit who was a strong Never Trumper but then pledged to give the president a chance, wrote this week that Republicans should abandon Trump because they “have no need for him with Mike Pence in the wings.”
Others, however, don’t think Trump is in too much danger.
“I find it unlikely that Trump is going anywhere,” one GOP lobbyist, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “That being said, Pence is well-liked on the Hill, fairly predictable, and doesn’t stir up much unnecessary drama.”
Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University, pointed out the similarities between Pence and Gerald Ford, who took over the presidency after Nixon was impeached. Like Ford, Pence made a career for himself in the House of Representatives and rose to a leadership position.
“It’s almost an eerie comparison that a more mild-mannered, religious conservative Republican Gerald Ford came in,” said Brinkley. “He’s much like Pence in temperament and personality. He doesn’t have that acerbic side that Nixon and Trump had.”
He added that like Ford, Pence “has made so few enemies.”
“Having Pence in reserve is one of the few things, I think, that is calming Republican nerves,” Brinkley continued. “It would just be a more mild-mannered Pence who never says anything offensive, who doesn’t take to Twitter, who goes to Church every Sunday.”
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