Though Pence will continue to be a “loyal soldier” because he is a “relentlessly positive guy, he “looks tired,” a senior administration adviser observed on Thursday, outlining the vice president’s schedule and trying to explain his relative absence from the public eye.
While an aide to the vice president says he spent the last few days in speech preparation, it conveniently kept him out of the firing line, missing a regular Senate lunch on Capitol Hill on Tuesday while he worked behind closed doors with President Donald Trump at a bilateral meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Pence team knew what they were getting themselves into when they joined the Trump ticket and team almost a year ago.
“We certainly knew we needed to be prepared for the unconventional,” but, the source adds, “not to this extent.”
Pence is slated to deliver seven speeches over the next four days, including the Notre Dame commencement address this weekend. He spoke to the US Chamber of Commerce as well on Thursday in Washington.
The aide does add, though, that the Vice President spent some time Wednesday in the West Wing in meetings with staff.
Even before the Comey memo dropped, this adviser remarked to CNN on whether Pence would make any explanatory statements about the meeting between Trump and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak: “I certainly hope not.”
The source added that it didn’t make sense for the vice president to insert himself into the narrative — a distancing of sorts after he reiterated seven times last week to Capitol Hill reporters that the President fired FBI Director James Comey on a recommendation from the deputy attorney general.
The President himself contradicted that reasoning just a day later in an interview with NBC News.
Pence and his closest advisers were also quiet as the news broke by The New York Times that the President asked Comey to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
It mirrored the way that the Pence team reacted when the “Access Hollywood” tape dropped last October: keep the media at bay while they sort through the crisis and create a plan of action.
This adviser said that they are not worried about Trump bringing Pence down with the news about a Comey memo or the new special counsel.
“I actually think the special prosecutor might be a positive in that it will separate fact from rumor if all of this is more lower level,” this person said, acknowledging that continuing news bombshells and doubt surrounding the administration are “obviously not helpful.”