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

But Pence was able to avoid their anger by immediately leaving Washington and going to the Middle East and Europe. According to three US officials familiar with the schedule, the vice president is looking at a trip abroad that would take him abroad for nearly a week from January 6.

Although Pence’s assistants declined to confirm details of the trip, which remain for the time being, a US government document seen by POLITICO shows that the vice president will travel to Bahrain, Israel and Poland, with the possibility that there will be more stops are added. A pre-advance team of Pence assistants and other U.S. officials left earlier this week to visit scheduled stops in preparation for the multicountry tour, which would be Pence’s first overseas trip since January, when he took two to Rome in a whirlwind. Jerusalem traveled. daycare.

On the surface, the journey is part of an effort to underscore the role of the Trump administration in bringing about a series of diplomatic deals to normalize relations between Israel and a handful of Arab countries, including Bahrain. But for Pence, visiting these countries is also a way to bolster the already strong credentials of the Christian right, which Israel strongly supports. And it allows Pence – again – to distance himself from Trump’s complaints about the election results that are likely to increase after Congress confirms Biden’s victory.

It’s a tactic Pence has used to navigate the final days of Trump’s presidency: stay out of the spotlight and isolate himself from his boss’s baseless crusade on electoral fraud, while still finding ways to make his own polish references and technically follow the party line.

Pence has promoted Trump in his work as head of the government’s coronavirus task force while simultaneously fostering two GOP senate candidates facing runoff races in Georgia. But he has refused to disclose his minimal involvement in the president’s electoral fraud strategy. And while he has privately assisted the Trump campaign when asked – joining donor phone calls and signing fundraising pleas – almost all of his public comments since the election have focused on other topics, including hosting an event focused on the Trump administration’s anti-abortion policy. Wednesday at the White House.

“I suspect the timing is anything but coincidental,” a Pence ally said of his preliminary travel plans.

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

The vice president’s last trip abroad came just before the new coronavirus arrived in the US, forcing both Pence and Trump to face a global pandemic amid presidential elections and later grapple with the fallout from the US. much criticized public health response from the government. Pence, who will receive the coronavirus vaccine on Friday, would travel to regions where the daily number of cases has been steadily rising since November. Last week, Israeli officials considered new coronavirus-related restrictions to reverse the growing outbreaks.

The US has been dealing with similar trend lines since late fall, as colder temperatures, increased indoor activities, and uneven adherence to social distance guidelines would be the cause of a rapid acceleration in Covid-19 cases not seen since earlier this spring . Deteriorating circumstances have increased Pence’s workload since the November 3 elections. While Trump has continued to focus on providing long-promised evidence of massive voter fraud – something he has been unable to provide so far – the vice president has hosted phone calls with state and local leaders, toured vaccine manufacturing facilities, and continued to work with the relevant organizations. involved in the pandemic response.

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

“Rest assured that we have reduced the red tape, but we have not taken any turns when it comes to developing this vaccine,” Pence said at a vaccine manufacturing center in Bloomington, Indiana on Tuesday. “I look forward to the coming days, to get the vaccine myself, without hesitation.”

In between duties, Pence has traveled to Georgia twice for “Defend the Majority” meetings in support of GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. He is scheduled to revisit the state Thursday for campaign stops in Macon and Columbus. The two races, scheduled for January 5, will determine which side will run the Senate.

“He still helps at the request of the [Trump] campaign, but the biggest help is he’s in Georgia, ”a senior White House official said of the vice president’s schedule.

The vice president’s most recent appearance in the state included a brief and rare nod to the alleged voter fraud program that Trump says cost him the election.

Referring to a lawsuit against the election results in four battleground states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Pence said Trump “deserves his day in court … and all I can say is, God bless Texas.”

The lawsuit was subsequently dismissed by the Supreme Court, joining more than 40 other cases that the Trump campaign has lost or retired in the weeks since election day in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona.

Some of the vice president’s best allies have also become more articulate about the realities Trump is facing and the importance of shifting the Republican Party’s attention to Georgia run-off matches. During a Monday night performance on Newsmax, a conservative television network that has promoted Trump’s voter fraud, former Pence communications director Marc Lotter said there is a lack of evidence that [the election result] to be destroyed in court. ”

“I think we have to be honest with ourselves, it is not just one state we have to turn around. … It would, in fact, overcome three hurdles the size of Mount Everest in three different states, ”said Lotter, who also collaborated on Trump’s 2020 campaign, referring to the number of states Trump would have to turn to win.

Such hurdles will disappear altogether when both chambers of Congress meet next month to lock up Biden as president-elect – putting one final nail in the coffin of Trump’s electoral fraud crusade. The suspenseful moment is sure to turn heads, both for its finality and the theatricality that is expected to unfold.

While Pence allies said there is no reason to doubt he will perform his duties as directed, some congressional republicans have already vowed to push their colleagues to reject enough electoral votes to prevent Biden from running for president. If Pence refused, the Senate’s president would intervene pro tempore for the first time since 1969, when incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey – then also the defeated Democratic candidate for president – skipped the procedure to attend a funeral.

The effort, led by Alabama GOP Representative Mo Brooks, is unlikely to deliver the desired outcome for Trump, but could easily put Pence in an excruciating situation. A White House official compared the job for Pence – which included opening and counting electoral votes from each state – to someone delivering an obituary.

“This is by no means going to be an easy time for the vice president or president to digest,” the official said.