President Donald Trump said Thursday at a Fox News Town Hall he has no plans to replace Vice President Mike Pence as the two were friends.
Trump named Pence as one of his closest friends at a Fox News Town Hall meeting in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Thursday. He also said that replacing Pence on the Republican ticket in this year’s upcoming election because that would be a “great act of disloyalty.”
Trump’s comments came after CNN political analyst Paul Begala made the prediction on Monday that Trump would “dump” Pence and replace him with Nikki Haley, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Begala called Pence’s replacement a “certainty” Monday during comments made to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) during a panel discussion.
“On Thursday, July 16—that’s the date the Democrat gives his or her acceptance address,” Begala said, “On that day, to interrupt that narrative, Donald Trump will call a press conference at Mar-a-Lago. He’s going to dump Mike Pence and put Nikki Haley on the ticket to try to get those suburban moms.”
“Trump put Pence in charge of coronavirus to throw him under the bus,” Begala added.
When asked by Fox News host Bret Baier Thursday night who Trump considered to be his closest friend in Washington, Trump initially demurred.
“I don’t want to say because I have a lot of close friends, I really do,” Trump said. “I get along great with our vice president. I keep hearing I’m replacing him. He’s doing a phenomenal job. He’s a great guy and a loyal guy and he works so hard.”
“Every day I read, ‘He’s gonna put this one, he’s gonna put that one,'” Trump continued. “If I did, that would be a great act of disloyalty because he’s been great. I speak to him a lot.”
Trump said he also talks to senators and members of Congress, including some from the other side of the aisle.
“I speak to Democrats also, believe it or not,” Trump said. “But we have great people in Washington, very smart people in Washington and it’s going to come together. It’s going to come together and it’s going to be sooner than you think.”
Newsweek reached out to the White House but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Haley had disagreements with Trump during her tenure in his administration but said in 2018 that she approached those differences in a direct fashion.
“I don’t agree with the president on everything,” Haley wrote in an op-ed piece for The Washington Post. “When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person.”
Haley’s resignation from her ambassadorship seemed to come as a surprise to some observers, but she left her position on good terms with Trump.
“She’s done a fantastic job and we’ve done a fantastic job together,” Trump said of Haley during a 2018 press conference. “We’re all happy for you in one way, but we hate to lose you.”
However, Haley’s resignation came after watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) called for an investigation into some of Haley’s travel expenses, including the acceptance of seven private jet flights provided to Haley free of charge.
“By accepting gifts of luxury private flights, Ambassador Haley seems to be falling in line with other Trump administration officials who are reaping personal benefits from their public positions,” wrote CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder in an October 2018 statement.