President Trump: My Base Is Stronger Than Ever, Despite 2020 Rumblings

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) -
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for travel to New Jersey from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Friday. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

President Donald Trump is insisting his support is stronger than ever, despite a report that some Republicans are weighing a 2020 presidential run without him.

In a flurry of early morning tweets Monday, President Trump said “the Trump base far bigger & stronger than ever before (despite some phony Fake News polling).” He specifically criticized the “failing @nytimes.” The New York Times detailed efforts by some Republicans looking ahead to 2020, including Vice President Mike Pence. Pence called the report false.

President Trump also wrote that he is “working hard” from his private golf club in central New Jersey, while the White House heating and cooling system is repaired, and plans to head to New York next week for “more meetings.”

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Monday that Trump will return to his hometown for part of the first half of next week. She did not provide more details.

He has not spent a night at his residence in Trump Tower since the inauguration.

The White House says Trump will be meeting with Cabinet secretaries and top aides on issues like health care and taxes while in New Jersey.

The formal rebuttal of a news report by the vice president was an unusual move. In it, Pence also said his team will “focus all our efforts to advance the president’s agenda and see him re-elected in 2020.”

The report detailed efforts of several Republicans looking ahead to 2020, calling it a “shadow campaign.” It notes Pence’s political schedule and active fundraising, though it also says unnamed advisers have signaled that he’d only run if Trump doesn’t.

The New York Times article noted Pence has set up a fundraising committee. Called the Great America Committee, it can accept checks of up to $5,000 from individual donors. Pence raised about $1 million at a Washington fundraiser last month, attended by dozens of lawmakers and featuring remarks from White House adviser Ivanka Trump.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also dismissed the report and said Pence is readying to run in 2020 “for re-election as vice president.”

“Vice President Pence is a very loyal, very dutiful, but also incredibly effective vice president, and active vice president, with this president,” said Conway to the ABC. ”He is a peer to the president in the West Wing.”

New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said in an emailed statement: “We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting and will let the story speak for itself.”