There has been some speculation that President Donald Trump could shake things up for his re-election campaign in 2020 and make a change to the vice-presidential slot on his ticket, but Trump has repeatedly shot down those rumors and insisted that Mike Pence will remain his running mate.
Perhaps in an effort to reinforce that message, Vice President Pence was dispatched on Wednesday to Michigan to make a number of scheduled appearances — including a stop with former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — as part of the “Keep America Great” re-election campaign, MLive reported.
Pence rallies supporters in western Michigan
Pence began his whirlwind day in western Michigan at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport where he was greeted by at least 100 supporters and the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, Laura Cox.
After signing red “Make America Great Again” hats and posing for selfies with people in the crowd, Pence boarded a “Trump/Pence” branded campaign bus and traveled to Portage, where he met with conservative activists along with community and faith leaders, local radio station WHTC reported.
Following the event in Portage, Pence proceeded to Holland and Grand Rapids for a rally with supporters where he was joined by Sanders, who was and remains wildly popular with the president’s supporters.
“The Vice President is a Midwesterner,” Laura Cox told WHTC. “He’s just a wonderful man, he’s a great leader, and he’s very approachable. You know, I think if people have the opportunity to hear him speak and meet him, I think that’ll be time well spent.”
Meets with state GOP leaders
MLive also reported that Pence met with several Republican congressmen from Michigan while in the state, including Reps. Bill Huizenga, Fred Upton, and Tim Walberg.
It was also noted that some Democrats had planned to hold protests during Pence’s scheduled events, and the ever-present cloud of impeachment seemed to hang over everything, given that Democrats are now accusing Pence of being involved in, or at least having knowledge of, the president’s purportedly impeachable actions regarding Ukraine.
Concerning impeachment, however, it doesn’t appear to be something that catching hold with Michiganders, at least not in the view of Kalamazoo County Republican Party Vice Chair Tony Lorentz, who told MLive that the push was based on false allegations. “There’s a lot of people who are afraid to say they’re Trump supporters due to the hatred the Democrats are spewing,” he said, adding of the president: “I truly think he’ll succeed in Michigan.”
2020 battleground state
This was actually Pence’s third visit to Michigan in 2019, with earlier visits to the Detroit Economic Club and the Michigan Republican Party’s leadership conference on Mackinac Island featuring discussions of the economy and trade and the president’s conservative leadership, respectively.
President Trump won Michigan in 2016 by only about 10,000 votes — the first Republican to do so since 1988 — and Democrats are keen to try and win it back in 2020, though the Trump campaign is just as motivated to keep it in the Republican column, along with other important midwestern swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The fact that Michigan is such an important state for 2020, and Trump has sent Pence, along with Sanders, to start campaigning there on his behalf, would suggest that he trusts and has confidence in his vice president and, hopefully, should help put to rest the rumors that Pence will be replaced.