Ex-campaign aide claims Mike Pence's wife thinks Donald Trump is 'reprehensible' and 'totally vile'
When the Access Hollywood tapes were leaked in October 2016, many assumed it would be the end of Donald Trump's presidential bid. While he did manage to storm back and win, the tape reportedly caused a rift between him and his running mate Pence.
Neither president Donald Trump nor his administration can seem to catch a break this year, and this week does not look to be an exception. The latest troubles to hound the billionaire mogul are claims that his vice president Mike Pence's wife, Karen, thinks that the president is 'totally vile.'
During the ending stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, the infamous Hollywood Acess tape was leaked in the media and depicted Donald Trump boasting of sexually harassing women and about women letting him kiss and grab them just because he is famous.
In the video, the president - then of The Apprentice fame - could be heard saying: "When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything."
Following the release of the tape, more than a dozen women came forward to say that Trump had sexually assaulted or harassed them over the years. While he initially appeared to apologize for his crude comments and pledged to be a 'better man,' he has changed his tune considerably since becoming the president and has repeatedly questioned the validity of the tape, sometimes denying it altogether.
Though they continued to appear on the campaign trail together after the incident, various reports from The Associated Press and New Yorker suggested that the ultra-conservative Pence was beside himself and that both he and his wife began distancing themselves from Trump. According to an anonymous former campaign aide, the couple 'refused to take Trump’s calls and sent him a letter saying that he and Karen, as Christians, were deeply offended by his actions and needed to make an ‘assessment’ about whether to remain with the campaign.'
Karen Pence was supposedly more taken aback than her husband. The Atlantic wrote about Pence: "He was genuinely shocked by the Access Hollywood tape. In the short time they'd known each other, Trump had made an effort to convince Pence that—beneath all the made-for-TV bluster and bravado—he was a good-hearted man with faith in God."
"On the night of the vice-presidential debate, for example, Trump had left a voicemail letting Pence know that he'd just said a prayer for him. The couple was appalled by the video, however. Karen, in particular, was "disgusted," says a former campaign aide. "She finds him reprehensible—just totally vile," it added. When Trump later called to apologize for the debacle, he apparently asked to speak to Mrs. Pence as well.
Their reaction should not be too surprising to those that have followed their career closely. Both Pence and his wife are evangelical Christians who as conservative as they come. Pence is very outspoken on his views against the LGBT community and has claimed on previous occasions that he will not eat dinner with a woman other than his wife and won't attend functions with alcohol without her.
However, only a week after The Washington Post exposé, all appeared to be hunky-dory in the Republican camp once again, with Pence appearing on CBS's This Morning to defend Trump. He claimed Trump's boasts were not true, calling it 'just talk,' saying: "What he’s made clear is that was talk, regrettable talk on his part, but that there were no actions, and he’s categorically denied these latest unsubstantiated allegations."
He continued: "The Donald Trump that I've come to know, that my family has come to know and spent a considerable amount of time with, is someone who has a long record of not only loving his family, lifting his family up, but employing and promoting women in positions of authority in his company."
While Republicans put on a brave face in front of the media and defended their frontrunner during a critical time in the closely-contested elections, there was a much stormier outlook to the happenings behind the scenes. The Trump campaign was stunned by the tapes and hastily put together an emergency meeting at Trump Towers with his most senior advisers in attendance.
During the meeting, former Republican National Committee Chair and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus allegedly urged Trump to drop out of the race and told him that if he didn't, he would lose in a landslide, 'going down with a worse election loss than Barry Goldwater's.' Conservative donors were said to have even put together a fund to lure him away from the nomination.
After the tapes, there was said to be a considerable rift between Pence and Trump, with senior Republicans worried that Pence would 'go rogue.' But instead of dropping out, he was apparently thinking of contemplating a coup, with the party ready to put him on the ticket with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. While that did not come to fruition, The New York Times reported that he was looking to prepare for a potential 2020 presidential bid.
Despite all the negative press surrounding Trump, he still managed to come out victorious in the now-contentious November 2016 elections by securing a historic 81% of the evangelical vote. With his approval rating is one of the lowest ever for a sitting president and the Robert Mueller Russia investigation now gathering steam, there are most definitely turbulent days on the horizon for an already beleaguered.
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