Back in October 2016, when the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape first surfaced, Mike Pence, then the vice presidential candidate, thought about staging a coup and replacing Donald Trump on the Republican ticket, The Atlantic reported Tuesday morning, citing unnamed Republicans familiar with the situation.
Just hours after the Washington Post published the tape revealing Trump bragging about grabbing women “by the pussy,” Pence told the Republican National Committee that he was ready to take over for Trump, per The Atlantic. An aide to Pence denied to The Atlantic that Pence discussed becoming the nominee with the RNC.
The RNC began looking into replacing Trump, and top Republicans were talking about placing Pence at the top of the ticket with Condoleeza Rice as his running mate, The Atlantic reported. During the meeting in which Trump asked his top advisers how much the tape had damaged his prospects, Priebus told Trump that Pence and Rice were “ready to step in,” a person who was present told The Atlantic.
The plans reportedly discussed by Pence and the RNC never went into place, however. Trump remained on the ticket and won the race weeks later.
Pence has continued in his role of Trump defender for nearly a year, a task he privately acknowledged is challenging, according to The Atlantic. During the transition, Pence told a potential adviser in an interview that he was in the “difficult position” of having to “100 percent defend everything the president says, The Atlantic reported. Pence asked the prospective staffer, “Is that something you’re going to be able to do if you’re on my staff?”
Read The Atlantic’s full story here.