White House Whispers: Nikki Haley And Mike Pence Planning A Run In 2020?

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner (L), White House chief of staff John Kelly (C) and White House staf secretary Rob Porter look on after US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation calling for a national day of prayer on September 3 for those affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump has already announced his intention to run for re-election earlier in the year, but, as political turmoil continues to surround the president, it is being rumored that two others in the administration could be teaming up for a 2020 run.

According to a report from Daily Mail, Vice President Mike Pence might be teaming up with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley to run in 2020. It seems the two are forming a plan, should Trump be unable to run.

The ongoing investigation into Russian collusion could have enough of an adverse affect to shake Trump’s support base. Similarly, if Democrats take a majority in Congress, following the November congressional elections, they would be more flexible in conducting investigations against Trump.

While Haley denied a direct question about the behind-the-scenes ploy, Daily Mail reports a recent confrontation between Haley and members of Trump’s advisory team may have sparked the rumors.

Per Daily Mail:

‘It’s perfect,’ Haley responded Wednesday when asked about her current relationship status with Trump, who fumed about her Sunday announcement of more sanctions against Russia behind-the-scenes.

When asked by a reporter later in the day if she was forming her own ticket with Pence she responded with simply a ‘no.’

Earlier this week, there was a slip-up within the Trump administration with Haley saying a new announcement for sanctions against Russia was coming soon from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin:

On Sunday, Haley had appeared on Face the Nation and stated that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would be making a sanctions announcement on Monday if he hadn’t already made it by the time her interview aired.

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‘And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use,’ Haley said, referring to the current head of Syria, who is getting propped up by the Russians.

‘And so I think everyone is going to feel it at this point,’ Haley said, speaking about the consequences of the latest Syrian chemical weapons attack. ‘I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message and our hope is that they listen to it.’

The sanctions announcement never would come on Monday.

New economic advisor Larry Kudlow then lampooned Haley, saying she got ahead of the administration in saying there would be an announcement:

On Tuesday, the president’s new top economic adviser Larry Kudlow explained that Haley merely ‘got ahead of the curve.’

‘She’s done a great job. She’s a very effective ambassador, but there might have been some momentary confusion about that,’ Kudlow added.

Haley did not take kindly to his words.

‘With all due respect, I don’t get confused,’ Haley had told Fox News Channel’s Dana Perino, who quoted the U.N. ambassador’s response on the air.

Continued:

‘White House talking points’ distributed by the Republican National Committee on Saturday are in line with what Haley said on Face the Nation.

‘We also intend to impose specific additional sanctions against Russia to respond to Moscow’s ongoing support for the Assad regime, which has enabled the regime’s atrocities against the Syrian people,’ the document read.

But then Haley was scolded for going too far, with the State Department telling a Haley aide that the ambassador should issue a correction, which the former South Carolina governor’s team never did.

Adding to the White House rumors, Pence recently chose one of Haley’s advisers to help advise him on national security. The adviser, Jon Lerner, was a ‘Never Trumper’ during the 2016 presidential election and someone that worked closely with Pence Chief of Staff Nick Ayers. President Trump got personally involved to have Lerner removed from the post:

But with rumors that her political ambitions could be nipping at his heels, Trump seems to be losing patience with that power dynamic – especially as Haley becomes closer to Pence.

When Pence named Haley’s deputy Jon Lerner as his new national security adviser, Trump lost it over reports that Lerner had made anti-Trump ads when he was working at the Club for Growth during the 2016 GOP primaries.

The promotion would have allowed Lerner to still work out of the United Nations.

Eventually, Lerner walked away from the opportunity with Pence.

Aides for both Haley and Pence deny that their bosses have made any such plans for 2020.

White House chaos or just more from the rumor mill? Time will tell.

As Washington Post reports, Pence’s decision to pick Lerner followed closely coordinating with Haley over the past year:

After months of searching, Vice President Pence has chosen a new national security adviser. Jon Lerner, deputy to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, will lead Pence’s foreign policy team and advise him on all national security issues, Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah told me. Significantly, Lerner will also keep his job working for Haley, dividing his time between the two principals and coordinating between the two teams.

That’s no accident. Over the past year, Pence and Haley have been coordinating closely on foreign policy, advocating long-held GOP foreign policy positions such as increased pushback against Russia, stronger pressure on North Korea, more resources for Afghanistan, a tougher position on the Assad regime in Syria and more. Now the two officials will have the same key adviser on national security.

Lerner, a well-known Republican political operative and foreign policy hand, has worked with Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, for many years. They started collaborating when Ayers — then at the Republican Governors Association — supported Haley’s first run for governor of South Carolina in 2010.

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