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Mike Pence seems very, one could say naively sure that Donald Trump will not be the 2024 GOP nominee, again

Mike Pence seems very, one could say naively sure that Donald Trump will not be the 2024 GOP nominee, again

On Wednesday, Chris Licht’s newly released CNN held another of its town halls for Republican presidential candidates. (After all, it went so well the first time.) This time it was Mike Pence’s turn. Earlier in the day, the former vice president of Donald Trump, whom he almost had killed (without remorse), officially announced his campaign, which he did while criticizing his former superior. Pence used his time to slightly back off (or dance) some of his more daring attacks. But in the end, he made a confident, you might say naive, prediction: Donald Trump won’t be the nominee – although he’s currently crushing him in the polls.

As CNN’s last GOP town hall wrapped up, Pence reiterated something he had said earlier: that no matter what, he would support whoever becomes the Republican nominee in 2024. That seemed to contradict what he said in his campaign announcement that Donald Trump should never, ever, ever be allowed to return to the White House. To his credit, moderator Dana Bash continued that line of questioning, asking him, “How can you say you support him if he’s the nominee?”

But Pence had a smart answer at hand: “Well, because I don’t think Donald Trump will be the nominee.”

Bash didn’t let go, quickly asking, “But what if he is?”

Pence was adamant, reiterating, “I don’t think he’ll be the nominee.”

“But what if he is?” Bash supported.

So Pence elaborated. “I have great faith in Republican primary voters,” he said. “We have a strong and experienced group of candidates who have grown today. And I really believe that people here in Iowa are going to recognize the challenges that we face and understand that different times call for different leadership.

“The American people are not looking back. We look forward to it,” Pence continued. “And I really believe that whatever the polls show, whatever the experts say, that when the time comes, the people of Iowa are going to take a fresh look at all of us who have come forward. I don’t think my former running mate will be the Republican candidate for president, and I’m very confident — very confident — that I can support the Republican candidate for president of the United States.

He then shrugged and said, “And I hope that’s me.”

Of course, Republican candidates and pundits and everyone in the pre-Trump GOP were saying pretty much the same thing in 2015 and 2016: that the American people would reject the guy from The apprentice. And the American people are certainly looking back. Trump slang, in 2016 and now, is about restoring America to some perceived former glory.

In other words, trying to sound confident about something that could very well happen – and if today’s polls hold until next fall, it definitely will – Pence looked even weaker than when he spent over two years not trashing the guy who, again, nearly got him killed.

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