Pence deepens rift with Trump as GOP's MAGA fallout continues: The Note

As the former president readies another run, his No. 2 speaks out.

November 14, 2022, 6:00 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Republicans are looking for answers and people to blame -- after a midterm bust that left them out of power in the Senate and, with multiple races still unprojected, potentially not in a position to take over the House.

Now, as former President Donald Trump readies another run, his No. 2 in the White House has entered the conversation in a significant way. Former Vice President Mike Pence's long-awaited book lands Tuesday amid a Republican reckoning over the MAGA movement -- and what he is saying about Trump on Jan. 6 could help shape what comes next.

In his first interview in conjunction with the book's release, Pence tells ABC "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir that Trump's words that day "endangered me and my family and everyone at the Capitol building."

"The president's words were reckless. It was clear he decided to be part of the problem," Pence told Muir.

Trump's handling of his election loss, of course, spilled over into 2022. He made falsehoods about 2020 and its aftermath a virtual prerequisite for his endorsements, and his hand-picked candidates were rejected in key races across major battleground states and districts.

The search for scapegoats is impacting leadership races inside the GOP in both the House and Senate. With Trump expected to announce his candidacy Tuesday and already attacking possible challengers, questions about what went wrong for Republicans in the midterms are already a big part of debates over 2024.

Pence isn't ready to declare himself a candidate again just yet. But he's not alone in wondering aloud if Trump is more a problem than part of potential solutions for the GOP from here.

PHOTO: Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an event in Washington, Oct. 19, 2022.
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an event in Washington, Oct. 19, 2022.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, FILE

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Party control of the House of Representatives is still up for grabs, with a number of those midterm races outstanding days after polls closed. The balance of power is in limbo -- and it seems that the leadership of both parties might be, too.

While House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has made his ambition to be speaker quite clear, it is unclear if he has the votes should his party win the majority. According to reporting from ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl, the MAGA wing of the party could keep McCarthy from garnering the support he needs to earn the post.

At the same time, the fate of the Democratic side of the aisle is unsettled. Some believe there could be a path, albeit a narrow one, to retaining control of the House. During his overseas trip, President Joe Biden called it "a stretch" when asked by ABC News about his confidence that Democrats could win.

"We can win it. Whether we're gonna win it remains to be seen," he said.

Additionally, who will lead the Democrats (majority or not) remains in question. Speaker Nancy Pelosi previously said that the attack on her husband, Paul, will factor into her decision to retire or not. Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Pelosi declined to delve any deeper into her decision.

"Right now, I'm not making any comments until this election is finished, and we have a little more time to go," she said of her future role in House leadership. "I wish it [the counting] was faster."

Questions about which party will control the House will likely be answered well before questions about which lawmakers will be at the helm of each party.

PHOTO: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks at an election event in Washington, Nov. 9, 2022.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks at an election event in Washington, Nov. 9, 2022.
Alex Brandon/AP

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Although the outcomes of several races are still outstanding, the contours of the incoming Congress are coming into clearer view with Latino lawmakers at the forefront of lawmaker changes. High-profile wins on both sides of the aisle are sure to brighten the spotlight on elected Latinos in both chambers as well as the focus on future candidate recruitment efforts.

"The year that 'Latinos are sliding to the GOP' is the year that elects the most Latino Democratic members of Congress," Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego tweeted after Election Day. Gallego serves as chair of the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and has been an outspoken force for Democratic Latino representation in Congress.

Across the aisle, Republican congresswoman-elect Monica De La Cruz contested the notion that the latest election countered evidence of Latino voters leaning toward Republicans. De La Cruz will represent Texas' 15th Congressional District which partially covers the southern border after winning her race against fellow Latina Michelle Vallejo, the Democratic nominee, by 9 points.

"The GOP just had its best midterm performance ever with Hispanics nationally, not just in FL. I love Cubans, but we don't have many in South Texas," De La Cruz tweeted in response to reporting about Democrats outperforming Republicans among Latino voters outside of Florida.

Although Republicans made inroads with both Latino voters and candidates in several states, the most high-profile case study of this year's winning Latino-focused campaign belongs to Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

Cortez Masto's victory banked heavily on Nevada's Latino vote and will likely lay the groundwork for future political messaging among the growing voter demographic in 2024. As reported by ABC News' Abby Cruz, four out of five Latinos in Nevada live in Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas and the surrounding metro area. The region comprises about 70% of the state's total vote. Somos Votantes, a group that engages Latino voters and who endorsed Cortez Masto's reelection bid, knocked on more than 1 million doors across Nevada in an effort to turn out voters to the polls.

PHOTO: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto arrives to give victory remarks at Carpenters International Training Center in Las Vegas, Nov. 13, 2022.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto arrives to give victory remarks at Carpenters International Training Center in Las Vegas, Nov. 13, 2022.
Bridget Bennett/Getty Images

Power Trip

Hulu

"Power Trip: Those Seeking Power and Those Who Chase Them" follows 7 young reporters as they chase down candidates in the lead up to the midterms with George Stephanopoulos guiding them along the way.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. "Start Here" begins Monday morning with a look at the Democratic Party's plans for the Senate majority. ABC's Trish Turner leads us off. Then, ABC's Tom Soufi Burridge is in Ukraine after Russia's retreat from Kherson. And, a former Twitter contractor discusses what happened after Elon Musk bought Twitter that led to her being laid off. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Indonesia.

Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back Tuesday for the latest.

Related Topics