While Vice President Mike Pence and former Amb. Nikki Haley are not publicly feuding, there are signs the two are lining up as rivals for a potential 2024 succession of President Donald Trump, Politico reported.
"The two of them have absolutely been friends and worked well together over the years, but you have to suspend disbelief to say that their relationship going forward won't be viewed within the context of the presidential election after next," former Haley aide Rob Godfrey told Politico.
One of the signs of a brewing rivalry was a lack of acknowledgment of each other headlining at a GOP donor retreat in Aspen, Colorado – both delivered speeches and mentioned other speakers but not each other, according to the report.
"The vice president has enormous respect for Nikki Haley, and she was an excellent ambassador for the Trump-Pence agenda during her one year at the UN," Pence chief of staff Marc Short told Politico in a statement.
Haley resigned from her post as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations late last year after almost two years of service. While she vowed to help President Trump get re-elected in 2020 upon her exit – drawing speculation she could be a candidate to replace Vice President Mike Pence on the 2020 ticket – she recently rebuked President Trump with a tweet lamenting the call out of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., "rat-infested" Baltimore district.
"This is so unnecessary," Haley tweeted, one of the few public comments against the administration she used to serve.
The palpable tension led some others to speculate she might be a candidate to challenge President Trump in a 2020 Republican primary, if not line up against VP Pence in 2024. It was all conjecture she quickly defused with a tweet this week:
"Enough of the false rumors. Vice President Pence has been a dear friend of mine for years. He has been a loyal and trustworthy VP to the President. He has my complete support. ❤️🇺🇸"
The tweet came after a Politico inquiry into Haley's intentions vs. Pence. The tweet was released before the response came from Haley spokeswoman Chaney Denton, according to the report.
"This foolish talk about the vice presidency has gone on for a long time," Denton told Politico. "Amb. Haley preferred to avoid it altogether. It was only when the subject kept coming up over and over, including this week, that she decided it made sense to address it.
"All of her political efforts this year are about the 2020 elections."
Haley's disloyalty would be politically damaging, so she had to respond, according to political pundit Erick Erickson.
"I do think there are people in Trump-world who question her loyalty now," political pundit Erick Erickson told Politico. "And so making sure they see her as loyal is a good thing and getting out there and defending the vice president about rumors that are circulating behind the scenes isn't a bad thing for her to do."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.