Mike Pence at podium

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After ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, Pence reportedly tried to steal nomination from Trump

Pence wanted to take over the ticket in the wake of the scandal.


David Covucci


Posted on Dec 5, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 9:03 am CDT

Vice President Mike Pence reportedly plotted to steal the GOP nomination from Donald Trump after the release of the president’s infamous Access Hollywood tape.

That bombshell is part of a must-read feature from the Atlantic on Pence’s larger political ambitions. According to reporter McKay Coppins, Pence initially went dark as the party roiled from the news of the tape, in which Trump admits to committing sexual assault.


Most alarming to the aides and operatives inside Trump Tower, Mike Pence suddenly seemed at risk of going rogue.


Trump’s phone calls to his running mate reportedly went unreturned, and anonymous quotes began appearing in news stories describing Pence as “beside himself” over the revelation.

Pence reportedly was truly distraught, believing Trump to be a good person. But once he got his bearings, it appears Pence smelled an opportunity.

It’s been reported that Pence sent Trump a letter saying he needed time to decide whether he could stay with the campaign. But in fact, according to several Republicans familiar with the situation, he wasn’t just thinking about dropping out—he was contemplating a coup. Within hours of The Post’s bombshell, Pence made it clear to the Republican National Committee that he was ready to take Trump’s place as the party’s nominee.

In the panicked wake after, numerous proposals were reportedly thrown about to try and save the party from Trump, with Pence at the forefront.

Republican donors and party leaders began buzzing about making Pence the nominee and drafting Condoleezza Rice as his running mate.


Amid the chaos, Trump convened a meeting of his top advisers in his Manhattan penthouse. He went around the room and asked each person for his damage assessment. Priebus bluntly told Trump he could either drop out immediately or lose in a historic landslide. According to someone who was present, Priebus added that Pence and Rice were “ready to step in.”

However, Trump proved defiant, and indeed, wound up winning the presidency in a shocking upset. Now, Pence is resigned to Trump’s whims and remains his strongest ally.

In Pence, Trump has found an obedient deputy whose willingness to suffer indignity and humiliation at the pleasure of the president appears boundless. When Trump comes under fire for describing white nationalists as “very fine people,” Pence is there to assure the world that he is actually a man of great decency. When Trump needs someone to fly across the country to an NFL game so he can walk out in protest of national-anthem kneelers, Pence heads for Air Force Two.

Read the whole story here.

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*First Published: Dec 5, 2017, 8:57 am CST