Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) said on Tuesday that former Vice President Mike Pence has spoken “very favorably” about his friendship with former President Donald Trump even as questions linger over whether or not the two men would mend their bond in the wake of the Capitol riot.
Members of the Republican Study Committee chaired by Banks had met with the former vice president at Pence’s transition office on Tuesday, according to CNN.
In an interview with CNN after the meeting, Banks said that Pence had no hard feelings toward his former governing partner in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
During the Senate’s impeachment trial earlier this month, House impeachment managers presented reporting that suggested President Trump had knowingly imperiled Pence, attacking him during a rally and then tweeting incendiary messages about the former vice president as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
But according to Banks, Trump’s actions before the riot “never came up.”
“He spoke very favorably about his relationship with President Trump,” Banks told CNN. “I got the sense they speak often and maintain the same personal friendship and relationship now that they have for four years.”
The insistence of an ongoing closeness between the two men, especially as it has been reported on the part of Pence, seems to suggest that even the former vice president, who was personally threatened and whisked to safety as members of the pro-Trump mob chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” is unwilling to cut ties with the former president, perhaps for fear of what kind of influence he could wield in the GOP going forward.
The meeting between Pence and the conservative leaders affirming the close bond, comes after an earlier report suggested that Pence and Trump had spoken twice since President Joe Biden’s inauguration last month, with each of the two men initiating a call and a source familiar with their ties describing the relationship as “amicable.”
Pence had declined an invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference where Trump is expected to deliver an address on Sunday, but according to CNN told the lawmakers on Tuesday that he would launch a political action committee to defend the record of the Trump administration.