During an appearance on Morning Joe on Tuesday, network analyst John Heilemann claimed that Vice President Mike Pence is distancing himself from President Donald Trump as Republicans prepare to “abandon” the president. Although Heilemann contended that Republicans are not yet at this point, he claimed that “the day will come” when they will leave Trump due to the political cost of staying by his side.
As reported by Raw Story, Heilemann pointed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to wear a mask, as well as Republican Sen. John Thune’s decision to call on the Trump White House to “change its message.” The American journalist then turned his attention to Pence.
“Mike Pence is now effectively repudiating the president, he’s on the phone with governors yesterday congratulating the governors who are shutting back down their states right now,” Heilemann said.
“That’s not an explicit repudiation of Donald Trump, but Mike Pence in a mask and not saying ‘full speed ahead on the economy, you governors who are being careful are doing the right thing,’ is Mike Pence understanding his political interests and Donald Trump’s interests are starting to diverge because the president has put them all in a position they could all be doomed.”
Heilemann also used his Tuesday MSNBC appearance to note that the majority of Republican Senators did not defend Trump when making statements on the recent New York Times report that claimed he ignored intelligence suggesting Russian bounties were placed on U.S. soldiers.
As reported by The Washington Post, Trump has refused to encourage the American public to wear masks. In addition, the president refuses to wear one himself when in front of cameras. Despite Trump’s opposition, Republican Senators are beginning to break with Trump on the issue of masks, Al Jazeera reported.
Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives who notably defended Trump during the impeachment inquiry, recently pushed Americans to follow the recommendations of U.S. health experts and wear masks. Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, and GOP Governors Gregg Abbott and Doug Ducey have also called for Americans to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The shift is notable as a May Reuters/Ipsos survey found that just one-third of Republicans said they were “very concerned” about coronavirus, while half of Democrats said the same. Nevertheless, some Republicans in Congress have been hesitant to wear masks or encourage Americans to wear them.