Vice President Mike Pence set up a new political action committee on Wednesday as the Trump administration weathers the storms of multiple controversies.
The “Great America Committee” leadership PAC gives the vice president a vehicle to raise funds to support Republican candidates or support political activities such as traveling on Air Force Two to GOP fundraisers around the country.
“This is the first time a sitting vice president has formed such a separate political arm. Former administration officials have used either party or campaign funds to cover travel costs,” NBC News reports.
Past presidential candidates, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both formed leadership PAC’s before their presidential bids in 2016.
“Don’t read into 2020 as anything other than his running for re-election as vice president in 2020 and supporting other candidates,” a source told NBC News.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 18, 2017
The PAC allows Pence to remain engaged with his supporters dating back to his time as a six-term member of Congress, then governor of Indiana and finally as a vice presidential candidate last year.
Two of his top aides from the vice presidential run — Nice Ayers and Marty Obst — will be heading the Great America Committee.
“The vice president is playing a leading role in passing legislation on the Hill,” Ayers told Bloomberg. “He wants to support House and Senate members who are helping pass the president’s agenda.”
Ayers said planning for the PAC began in December. In addition to supporting Republican candidates, it will enable Pence to engage in political activities without draining funds from Trump’s presidential campaign war chest or the Republican Party.
The leadership PAC can accept individual donations up to $5,000.
Multiple media outlets could not help noting the formation of the PAC comes as the Trump administration grapples with the political fallout after the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the naming of a special prosecutor to investigate Russia efforts to influence the 2016 presidential race.
Politico reports that so-called Never Trumpers, like conservative commentator Erick Erickson, have re-emerged to argue there is no need to back Trump “with Mike Pence in the wings.”
Others contend that if liberals and others opposed to the Trump presidency should somehow succeed in orchestrating its demise, their guns would quickly turn on Pence.
Kyle Smith argues, in a National Review piece on Wednesday entitled, “Get Ready For The Pillorying of Pence,” “if Trump leaves office prematurely for any reason, President Pence will immediately be denounced as far worse. In fact, it would happen before he even took office. In fact it’s already happening.”
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen laid the groundwork earlier this week in his op-ed, “Trump Doesn’t Embody What’s Wrong With Washington. Pence Does.”
Cohen hammers Pence calling him a “bobblehead” who stands near Trump nodding his agreement with what the president does.
An article on liberal Bill Moyers’ site titled, “Enabling A Dangerous President: Pence Was There,” labels the vice president a liar and guilty of engaging in coverups.
The implication and the objective is clear: if Trump goes down, Pence should go with him.
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