A soap opera writer couldn’t have scripted it any better.
It’s a tale of misplaced loyalty and brutal betrayal, with one relationship torn asunder by a refusal to violate the law and personal principles and by a plot to achieve selfish aims that resulted in an angry mob calling for the lynching of one of the people involved.
The saga of Donald Trump and his relationship with his Vice President Mike Pence will likely be developed for a made-for-TV movie or miniseries at some point in the future, but with the real-life events still unfolding, it has yet to reveal its ending, whether it turns out to be happy or tragic.
Trump hammered another nail into the coffin of his relations with his former number two yesterday when he pointedly omitted Pence’s name from a carefully curated list of GOP politicians whom he considers sufficiently loyal to him to be included in a tally of ideologically approved allies.
In Trump’s latest post-presidential media blitz, he appeared on a right-wing podcast, “The Truth With Lisa Boothe,” where the host asked him to detail the people whom he thinks will form “part of the future” of the Republican Party.
Trump didn’t hesitate to spew forth a long list of names that could form the GOP all-star team of reprehensibly destructive politicians, including such reactionary luminaries as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
“Lot of very good people, really good people,” Trump said, unfortunately unironically . “The Republican Party is stacked.”
It was difficult to ignore the absence of Mike Pence’s name from Trump’s list.
Lisa Boothe pressed Trump — who continued to press his false claims about election fraud and a stolen victory during the podcast — about whom he thought could be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee if he declines to run again.
“So some of the names I guess I just mentioned, perhaps. And others and others. There’s a pretty deep bench. I’ll make that decision sometime later. But there’s a pretty deep bench,” the disgraced ex-president replied.
With Pence reportedly weighing his own options for running for the GOP nomination, Trump’s slight is fairly obviously intentional, particularly considering the fact that Trump explicitly criticized his former VP for failing to overturn the legitimately confirmed results of the electoral college vote during his appearance on the podcast.
Republican infighting, is, of course, a boon for the Democratic party who will be facing an opposition torn apart by those in permanent thrall to their crooked and defeated leader and those who retain an inkling of conscience and have one foot still in reality.
Let the battle for the soul of the GOP begin!
When the dust settles, the victor is likely to realize that they have been fighting for a soul that no longer exists.
Original reporting by Lee Moran at HuffPost.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.