As Rumors Swirl, Pence Tweets He’s Standing By Trump

Trump's running mate had a hard time tweeting from under the bus.

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Oct 09, 2016 at 11:42 PM ET

There were hints during the second presidential debate that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has lost the support of his own running mate — or may have stopped supporting him. But, unlike many senior Republican leaders (and the Dilbert guy) who have recently withdrawn their support of Trump, VP candidate Mike Pence appears to be in it for the long haul, even after Trump admitted they haven’t spoken and that he disagreed with him on at least one issue.

Pence was uncharacteristically silent on Twitter during the debate — during the first debate, he tweeted or re-tweeted supportive statements about Trump multiple times — and has, in fact, been mostly quiet since the tapes of Trump advocating sexually assaulting women (as long as the person doing the assaulting is “a star”) were revealed. Since then, Pence has only tweeted twice: a statement where he said he was offended by Trump’s words, and a message of support for Israel following a terrorist attack. Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine, by contrast, tweeted many times throughout the debate. Pence also dropped out of a campaign event in Wisconsin scheduled for Saturday.

Trump did have something to say about Pence during the debate. At one point, Trump said “he and I haven’t spoken and I disagree” with Pence’s statements about how to handle Russia and Syria. Moderator Martha Raddatz, surprised, asked “you disagree with your running mate?” Trump then launched into another monologue about ISIS, and didn’t mention Pence again.

Rumors began to swirl that Pence was considering dropping out of the race and waiting to see the outcome of the debate before making his decision. During the debate, those rumors picked up steam. Following the debate, Pence finally did make it out from under the bus Trump threw him under to tweet his support of Trump. But it was nearly exactly the same as his tweet after the first one.

One noticeable difference was that Pence (or whoever runs his Twitter account) said he was “proud to stand with” Trump. That’s probably not what Pence would say if he was seriously considering leaving the ticket.

If Pence does drop out, it wouldn’t be unprecedented. In 1972, Sen. Thomas Eagleton was the running mate of Democratic nominee George McGovern, but dropped out when it was discovered he had been hospitalized for depression. But that was a case of a party (and presidential nominee) having doubts about its vice presidential choice. If Pence dropped out, it would be because he has doubts about his own party’s presidential nominee.