CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA) Penny Young Nance said Monday a weekend report alleging that Vice President Mike Pence was gearing up for a 2020 presidential bid “absolutely” was “designed to sow discord in the West Wing” and strain Pence’s relationship with President Donald Trump.
Nance, who met Pence when he was first elected to serve Indiana in the House of Representatives before his time as governor, blasted The New York Times for publishing the article titled “Republican shadow campaign for 2020 takes shape as Trump doubts grow.” The piece analyzed Pence’s numerous political and fundraising appearances and claimed that the vice president sought to build a base separate from Trump’s base that could carry him to the presidency.
“So The New York Times, you know — they took a list of facts that arrived at the wrong conclusion,” Nance told LifeZette. “By the way, that’s [Pence’s] job. His job is to represent the president and go around the country and to try to push the president’s agenda. That is his job, and that is what he does very well, and he does very loyally.”
Noting that she had spent the morning Monday speaking with members of Pence’s staff, she said that they are “so offended” by The Times’ report because “it calls into question the vice president’s integrity and his loyalty.”
“Because if you know anything about the vice president, you know he is incredibly loyal and has such integrity. I mean, he is very well respected around town by everyone I know. I mean, even if people don’t like him, they respect him because he’s the same,” Nance said. “He doesn’t play political games, and he’s the same no matter who he’s talking to.”
The CWA head charged that by publishing such a story, The Times revealed that it suffers from one of two embarrassing ailments.
“One thing is that they’re so sidelined, and their sources are so thin within the White House that they really don’t know,” Nance said of The Times. “Or, number two, they really had an agenda with this story. And that’s bad. Either way, their credibility is hurt by this story.”
“I think it was designed to sow discord in the West Wing,” she added. “I mean it is very, very obvious when you are in meetings with [Pence] that he is there to support the president. It’s never about his agenda. It’s always about the president’s agenda and what the president wants to get done and how we can best help the president. Everything is in those terms.”
Noting that she has spoken to and met with Pence numerous times since Election Day, Nance said he “is a very loyal man” who is committed fully to supporting Trump and pushing his agenda. According to conversations she has had with Pence’s staffers, Nance said that the vice president is “the exact same way” in “unguarded conversations” with them in the office about supporting the president.
“When he’s talking to me or when he’s talking to other conservatives … he’s always talking about the president’s agenda. And he’s always supporting the president, he’s always saying very positive things about the president. It is never about him in these conversations,” the CWA president said.
Nance took to Twitter Monday morning to unleash her thoughts on The Times’ weekend story, writing, “No one who actually knows @VP thinks he is running for @POTUS. Look up loyal in the dictionary and see his picture #FakeNews … @nytimes is engaged in a disinformation campaign hoping to sow discord. @VP goes out of his way in publicly and privately to support @POTUS.”
For his own part, Pence strongly condemned The Times’ story, calling it “disgraceful and offensive” and saying that the allegations are “categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration.” Trump also weighed in on The Times’ credibility Monday morning when he tweeted, “The failing @nytimes, which has made every wrong prediction about me including my big election win (apologized), is totally inept!”
CWA, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization, has been around for 38 years and boasts half a million members, Nance said. Noting that CWA has worked alongside Pence “in coalition and supported him on conservative issues” throughout his tenure as a congressman, Nance said that CWA’s conservative base “overall” is “very happy with the efforts that are being made by this administration.”
“The grass roots are still very supportive of this administration. I think their concerns are leveled at Congress, and they do not believe that Congress is following through on their promises,” Nance said, pointing to the Senate’s repeated failures to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“I think that if Congress isn’t able to follow through on their promises, come reelection time they’re going to have a lot to answer for,” she warned.
(photo credit, homepage image: Gage Skidmore, Flickr; photo credit, article images: Michael Vadon, Flickr)