Pence prepares to confirm Trump’s loss – then leaves town

But Pence was able to escape his anger by leaving Washington immediately for the Middle East and Europe. According to three U.S. officials familiar with the planning, the vice president will be watching a trip abroad from January 6, which will take him overseas for nearly a week.

Although Pence’s aides refused to confirm the details of the trip, which remains experimental, a U.S. government document seen by POLITICO shows the vice president traveling to Bahrain, Israel and Poland, with the possibility of additional stops. A preliminary team of Pence assistants and other U.S. officials left earlier this week to visit the planned stations in preparation for the multi-country tour, Pence’s first foreign trip since January last year, when he traveled to Rome and Jerusalem in two whirlwinds. day stay.

On the surface, the trip is part of an effort to underline the role of the Trump government in mediating diplomatic agreements to normalize relations between Israel and some Arab countries, including Bahrain. But for Pence, visiting these countries is also a way to strengthen the already strong trust in the Christian right, which strongly supports Israel. This, in turn, will allow Pence to once again demarcate each other and Trump’s complaints about the election results, which are likely to escalate after Congress confirms Biden’s victory.

This is a tactic Pence used in the last days of Trump’s presidency: keep away from the spotlight and isolate himself from his boss’s baseless election-fraud campaign while still finding a way to ignite his own mandate and technically bypass the party line.

Pence promoted Trump as head of the government’s coronavirus task force and supported two GOP senate candidates facing a runoff in Georgia. But he did not want to disclose his minimal involvement in the president’s election fraud strategy. And while he helped the Trump campaign in private when he was asked to join donor calls and sign fundraising requests, his public remarks since the election focused on almost all other topics, including the Trump administration’s anti-abortion policy event in the White House on Wednesday.

“I suspect the timing is no accident,” one of Pence’s allies said of his experimental travel plans.

A senior administrative official said the trip had not been confirmed and was proposed for early January because it was the first date available after the holidays and other commitments Pence had committed to.

The vice president’s last foreign trip took place just before the coronavirus arrived in the United States, forcing both Pence and Trump to face a global epidemic in the midst of the presidential election and later cope with a public health response much criticized by the administration. Pence, who will receive the coronavirus vaccine on Friday, would travel to regions where the number of daily cases has risen steadily since November. Last week, Israeli officials considered restrictions on a new corona virus to reverse the growing epidemics.

The U.S. has faced similar trend lines since late fall, as colder temperatures, increased indoor activity, and uneven adherence to social distance guidelines are the fault of the rapid acceleration of Covid-19 cases not seen before in the spring. Deteriorating conditions have put an increased strain on Pence since the November 3 election. While Trump continued to focus on presenting the long-promised evidence of mass electoral fraud, which he has so far been unable to provide, the vice president held calls with state and local leaders, toured vaccine facilities and continued to work with relevant agencies involved in the pandemic response.

On Monday, Pence held a conference with the country’s governors to discuss the distribution of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine and the expected FDA approval of the Moderna second coronavirus vaccine at the end of the week.

“To be sure, we’ve cut red tape, but we haven’t narrowed down to vaccine development,” Pence said Tuesday at the vaccine manufacturing center in Bloomington, India. “I look forward to the next few days to get the vaccine myself and do it without hesitation.”

Among the tasks of his team, Pence traveled twice to Georgia for “Defend the Majority” meetings in support of David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of GOP Sens. He is scheduled to visit the state again on Thursday at campaign stops in Macon and Columbus. The two races scheduled for Jan. 5 will determine which party controls the senate.

– It still helps where the [Trump] campaign, but the biggest help is being in Georgia, ”a senior White House official said of the vice president’s schedule.

The vice president’s recent appearance in the state gave a short and rare nod to the alleged voter fraud program that Trump allegedly made into the election.

In four battlefield states, citing a lawsuit challenging election results led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Pence said Trump “deserves his day in court … and all I can say is: God bless Texas”.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit and joined more than 40 cases in which the Trump campaign lost or withdrew throughout Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona over the weeks since the election.

Some of the vice president’s main allies have also become louder with Trump’s confronted reality and the importance of diverting the Republican Party’s attention to the ongoing races in Georgia. On Monday night at Newsmax, a conservative TV network that promoted Trump’s voter fraud claims, Marc Lotter, former director of communications at Pence, said there was no evidence to allow [the election result] to be overturned in court. ”

“I think we need to be honest with ourselves, not just turn a state over.” “Basically, overcoming three Mount Everest-sized hurdles in three different states,” said Lotter, who also worked on the 2020 Trump campaign, referring to the states that Trump needs to transition to victory.

Such hurdles will completely disappear when both chambers of Congress meet next month to keep Bident closed for President-elect – thus tapping a final nail into the coffin of Trump’s election-fraud crusade. The tense moment is sure to attract attention, both for its finality and for the theaters that are expected to unfold.

While Pence’s allies say there is no reason to doubt that he will perform his duties as prescribed, some congressional Republicans have already vowed to encourage their colleagues to reject enough election votes to prevent Biden from becoming president. If Pence were to decline, the President of the Senate would enter pro tempore for the first time since 1969, when incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey, also a then-defeated Democratic candidate, skipped the procedure to attend a funeral.

The effort led by GOP spokesman Mo Brooks of Alabama is unlikely to bring Trump the desired result, but he can easily put up with Pence in a torturous situation. A White House official compared Pence’s job – which involves opening and counting voter votes sent from each state – to someone who sends a death.

“It won’t be an easy moment for the vice president or president on his stomach at all,” the official said.