This shouldn’t be a big story, but it kind of is a big one.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence aren’t eating lunch together these days. The president has decided to ditch his “intimate” lunches with the vice president. He is sending aides to break bread with the VP.
What does this portend? It’s anyone’s guess, given the mercurial, unpredictable, whim-whipped decision-making that drives the president.
I am left to wonder: Is the president so angry with the VP that he’s going to toss him over when he runs for re-election in 2020?
The report of Trump and Pence no longer breaking bread comes from The Atlantic, which reports that Trump was miffed that Pence endorsed U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz prior to the Indiana Republican presidential primary in 2016. The Atlantic also reports that Trump chided Pence in 2017 about the endorsement Trump received from former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight. “I won the primary and now look where you are, Mike,” Trump supposedly told the VP.
Well, so much for the fealty that Pence has exhibited while standing by his man, the president.
I don’t know yet where this will go. Nor do I know whether it portends yet another big political shakeup within the Trump administration. Trump has demonstrated quite a propensity for shaking things up. He has tossed aside the Homeland Security chain of command. Trump has yet to name permanent replacements at several key Cabinet and senior advisory posts.
Now it’s the vice president — the next in line for the Big Chair — who might be tossed aside for someone else?
If we play that scenario out, I am baffled as to how Donald Trump could have found a more loyal foot soldier than Mike Pence. He demands loyalty. In Pence, he has gotten what he has demanded . . . and then some!
These private POTUS-VPOTUS lunches have become a staple of many previous administrations. President Obama and Vice President Biden met regularly; so did President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Yes, others at the top of the chain of command have met regularly.
To my admittedly distant vantage point, I just haven’t picked up on the body language exhibited by many previous presidents and vice presidents. Let’s face it: Pence is the straightest arrow in the quiver; Trump is, well, let’s just say he has behaved badly for damn near his entire adult life.
I guess that is why news of the end of the Trump-Pence lunches is a big deal. It might become a huge deal.