Monday 16 October 2017

Vice President Mike Pence denies 'showdown campaign' for presidency

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence addresses servicemen participating in the Noble Partner 2017 joint multinational military exercises outside Tbilisi, Georgia. (Zurab Kurtsikidze/Pool Photo via AP)
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence addresses servicemen participating in the Noble Partner 2017 joint multinational military exercises outside Tbilisi, Georgia. (Zurab Kurtsikidze/Pool Photo via AP)

Catherine Lucey

US vice president Mike Pence has hit back after a news report suggested he is laying groundwork for a possible presidential bid in 2020 if President Donald Trump does not run.

In a statement released by the White House, Mr Pence said Sunday's story in The New York Times "is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team".

He added: "The allegations in this article are categorically false."

The formal rebuttal of a news report by the vice president was an unusual move.

In it, Mr Pence also said his team will "focus all our efforts to advance the president's agenda and see him re-elected in 2020".

The report details efforts of several Republicans looking ahead to 2020, calling it a "shadow campaign".

It notes Mr Pence's political schedule and active fundraising, though it also says unnamed advisers have signalled that he would only run if Mr Trump does not.

The article noted Mr Pence has set up a fundraising committee.

Called the Great America Committee, it can accept cheques of up to 5,000 dollars from individual donors.

Mr Pence raised about one million dollars at a Washington fundraiser last month, attended by dozens of politicians and featuring remarks from White House adviser Ivanka Trump.

Mr Trump has not suggested he will not seek a second term.

But his first six months in office have been turbulent, marked by staff infighting, legislative struggles and a series of investigations.

White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway also dismissed the report and said Mr Pence is readying to run in 2020 "for re-election as vice president".

"Vice President Pence is a very loyal, very dutiful, but also incredibly effective vice president, and active vice president, with this president," said Ms Conway on ABC's This Week.

''He is a peer to the president in the West Wing."

New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said in an emailed statement: "We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting and will let the story speak for itself."

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