I guess after you’ve called a guy a “pussy” and egged on a mob to try to kill him, you shouldn’t expect him to show up for a final salute.
Think how little self-respect Mike Pence would have to feel in order to go through all he’s been through and still turn out to wish Trump well anyway, just on the off-chance that it would earn him some brownie points with Trump voters.
I mean, Ted Cruz would do it. But I can’t think of another human who would.
VP Pence is not expected to attend President Trump’s sendoff at Joint Air Force Base Andrews tomorrow morning, per White House officials. He is attending the inauguration later in the day, and aides say it would be logistically challenging for the vice president to do both.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) January 19, 2021
Hmmm. I’m sure it would be “logistically challenging” to ferry the VP from Andrews back to a heavily guarded D.C. by chopper, but I suspect that if Pence wanted to be at both events badly enough they’d find a way to accommodate him. As it is, if it’s genuinely impossible for him to attend both, it speaks volumes that he’s putting his loyalty to duty by legitimizing the transfer of power ahead of his loyalty to Trump.
As I said a few days ago, Pence seems to have already made peace with the fact that his break with Trump is irreparable. There’s no point trying to earn cheap MAGA cred now by loyally showing up for the send-off. It’s over.
As of 2 p.m. ET, suspense is beginning to mount: Who, exactly, is going to turn out for the presidential farewell tomorrow morning at Andrews? Eyebrows were raised yesterday when word got around that invitees were told they can bring as many as five guests, which suggests that the organizers are having trouble filling seats. Anthony Scaramucci, who’s been a harsh anti-Trumper for the past several years, also somehow got an invite, indicating that the White House is desperate. The man who fired Scaramucci, John Kelly, received one as well despite having fallen out with Trump many months ago:
In addition to Scaramucci, John Kelly and Don McGahn were invited to Trump’s departure tomorrow. Neither is expected to attend, CNN is told. Kelly called Trump the most flawed person he ever met & said he would have voted to remove him if was in the Cabinet. But was invited.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 19, 2021
This one really hurts, though:
Corey Lewandowski, who served as President Trump’s first campaign manager in 2016 and has been a longtime advisor to the President, tells @CBSNews he will not attend tomorrow’s sendoff event at JBA. via @ArdenFarhi
— Sara Cook (@saraecook) January 19, 2021
If even a soldier as loyal as Corey wants to put some distance between himself and Trump at this point, who’s left to attend?
I’d guess Kayleigh McEnany will be there. Rudy Giuliani too, of course. And Jenna Ellis. Maybe a few cabinet members? Pompeo will show, as he’s looking at running in 2024 and now has more of an opening to win over MAGA votes thanks to Pence’s “betrayal” of the cause. Plenty of ambitious young Trumpy House Republicans will also attend, I’m sure, from Jim Jordan to Matt Gaetz to Marjorie Taylor Greene. The one I’m most curious about, though, is Kevin McCarthy, a man so loyal that Trump had taken to describing him at one point in their relationship as “My Kevin.” McCarthy clearly saw hugging Trump as his ticket to consolidating power over the House caucus and preserving his chances of becoming Speaker in 2022. But last week he criticized Trump on the House floor for the Capitol riot and the whole “stop the steal” post-election campaign, which was his way of playing to swing voters before casting his vote against impeachment to appease MAGA.
Trump watched that speech. And let’s just say that Mike Pence is no longer his least favorite Republican at the moment:
The president has continued to tell advisers and allies he really won the election, with less than 48 hours to go before he leaves office. On the current GOP rift, the president’s anger is with every Republican who voted for impeachment but singular for McCarthy, aides say.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 18, 2021
McCarthy did NOT support impeachment, but that’s hasn’t mattered to the president, according to people who spoke with him.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 18, 2021
It’s hilarious that Liz Cheney, not McCarthy, is the one who voted to impeach and yet McCarthy’s at the top of the sh*t list right now. The lesson there is that only a fool would try to pass Trump’s loyalty tests in the first place. Eventually you’ll be asked to pass one that you end up failing — just like Mike Pence — and Trump will hate you even more than he does the anti-Trumpers. The anti-Trumpers aren’t guilty of any “betrayal,” at least.
Frankly, I wonder if maybe Cheney should drop by tomorrow’s send-off. Trump’s desperate for friends right now. She could probably erase the stigma of her impeachment vote with one cameo appearance.
Exit question: Wasn’t there talk at some point that he was going to jet off on the morning of the 20th straight to a campaign rally, where he’d announce his 2024 campaign? What happened to that?
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