WASHINGTON -- As controversial stories continue to be written about President Donald Trump, conservatives are whispering and hinting about the possibility of "President Pence," Politico reported Thursday.
While the idea of Vice President Mike Pence taking over as president is still a long way away from being a reality, at least one Republican in Congress discussed the possibility.
“If what the [New York Times] reported is true, Pence is probably rehearsing,” one House Republican who asked not to be named quipped Wednesday, per Politico. “It’s just like Nixon. From the standpoint that it’s never the underlying issue, it is always the cover-up.”
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Trump asked then-FBI director James Comey to shut down the investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security advisor.
“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Comey, according to a memo Comey wrote.
Like the unnamed Republican, Politico likened the thought to Richard Nixon. In 1974, Gerald Ford was sworn in as president after Nixon resigned instead of facing the likelihood of being impeached.
Ford, like Pence, was a mild-mannered, religious conservative. Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University, said Pence, as with Ford, "has made so few enemies."
At least publicly, Republicans are still dismissing the idea of ousting Trump for Pence. Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to comment on the idea of Pence being president.
"Oh good grief," he said, according to reporters in the room. "We shouldn't even give credence to that."
This week, Pence filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form a new Political Action Committee. Leadership PACs, like the one Pence filed, are common among members of Congress but rare for sitting vice presidents.
It's a little prophetic now, but Pence has commented, albeit facetiously, on running for president. When Trump said he was being treated unfairly in court because of an Indiana judge's Mexican heritage, Pence said Trump's comments were inappropriate, then added:
"With that being said, you know – if I wanted to comment on everything that’s said in the presidential campaigns, I would have run for president."
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