Mike Pence is at the center of a juicy DC rumor—and he’s not having it. Per the AP, Pence released a statement Sunday disavowing a New York Times story that reports he’s among Republicans gearing up for a shot at the White House in 2020 should Trump decide not to run for reelection. Pence’s statement said the article "is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team.” It called the allegations “categorically false,” “laughable and absurd,” and described them as an attempt by the media to divide the Trump administration. The Times piece looks at members of the GOP who are possibly laying the groundwork for “shadow campaigns,” citing political maneuvers and fundraising by senators Cotton and Sasse as well as Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
But the article considers Pence at length, calling him the "pacesetter," with mentions of his fundraising committee recently racking up $1 million at a Washington fundraiser, and his robust political event schedule. It says unnamed advisers to the vice president have indicated to donors that Pence is interested in a presidential bid, but only if Trump doesn't seek another term. Kellyanne Conway doubled down on Pence’s statement during media rounds, saying, "It is absolutely true the vice president is getting ready for 2020—for reelection as vice president” on ABC’s This Week. A New York Times spokeswoman told the AP in an email statement that the paper is "confident in the accuracy of our reporting and will let the story speak for itself."