Former President Donald Trump virtually ruled out former Vice President Mike Pence as a running mate should he run in 2024.
"I don't think the people would accept it," Trump told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday night.
Trump loyalists who blame the 2020 presidential outcome on election fraud in several swing states are still angry with Pence for not overturning results of the 2020 Electoral College votes.
Pence, whom Trump called a "really fine person," has said he had no such power to do so under the Constitution.
Trump believes lawmakers in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin would have awarded him the Electoral College votes needed to defeat President Joe Biden if Pence had sent back the ballots.
"Mike thought he was going to be a human conveyor belt, that no matter how fraudulent the votes, you have to send them up to the Old Crow [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.]," Trump told the Examiner.
"But that turned out to be wrong. Because now, as you know, [lawmakers] are feverishly working to try and get it so that the vice president cannot do what Mike said he couldn’t do. Obviously, they were either lying, misrepresenting, or they didn’t know.
"I was disappointed in Mike," Trump added.
That sentiment resonates with Trump supporters, though the former president also remembered their time in office.
"Mike and I had a great relationship except for the very important factor that took place at the end," Trump told the Examiner via phone from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
"We had a very good relationship. I haven't spoken to him in a long time."
The Examiner said Trump during the interview occasionally signaled that he retained at least some level of appreciation for Pence's loyalty during the administration.
"I still like Mike," Trump said, though the news outlet added that the former president’s comments generally were cold and critical.
Pence, himself, could be eyeing a run for the ’24 GOP presidential nomination. He has said his "focus right now is on 2022" but recently criticized Trump for calling Russian President Vladimir Putin's move to invade Ukraine "genius."
"There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin," Pence said while speaking to donors recently, the Examiner reported. "We cannot win by fighting yesterday’s battles or by relitigating the past."
Trump, though, insists that resolving what happened in the 2020 election matters most to Republican primary voters.
The Examiner said that Pence has let it be known he would not automatically stand aside if Trump ran in ’24.
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