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John Edward Fogarty

Pence preps for potential 2024 presidential run amid rocky headlines about relationship with Trump

11 min read
fairly easy
Mike Pence is adding staffers for his brand-new office in downtown Washington -- inching closer to a possible White House run even as his standing worsens with former President Donald Trump and his base of supporters.

The former vice president's ramp-up comes as Trump appears to be making good on his declaration to Pence that "I don't want to be your friend anymore." That quote, first reported this week, is attributed to Trump in a forthcoming book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

The last conversation between the two Republican leaders was a phone call from Trump in April, Republican sources tell CNN, wishing Pence well as the former vice president recovered from heart surgery.

Pence isn't waiting to make up with his former running mate -- nor is he waiting for the former President to make up his own mind about his political future. People around Pence rejected the idea that he would hold off on his 2024 planning until Trump announces whether he'll run.

"Mike is going to look at this and say, 'Where am I being called to serve?' " said one person close to Pence. "That's not going to be thwarted by any man or woman."

"If he feels called to do this," the adviser went on, "it's not going to be because of who else is in the race."

Top aides to Pence told CNN this week that the Indiana Republican has doubled his team to about 20 people this summer. He's also added a top Republican fundraiser, John Fogarty, and new office space for his non-profit group, Advancing American Freedom.

At the moment, most other potential GOP contenders are tiptoeing around Trump, either suggesting they won't run if he does or, like former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, blatantly saying so publicly.

That's not so with Pence. Though aides are reluctant to spell out his plan, some parts of it seem evident in the way he has been expanding his operation and adding to his schedule -- all amid headlines that don't exactly improve his appeal to the Trump faithful.

But while Trump is preoccupied with litigating the 2020 election and settling scores, often with his fellow Republicans, Pence is attempting to forge a path independent of the ex-President.

He is crisscrossing the country to…
Michael Warren, CNN
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