Trump-Pence divide defines near-term future of GOP: The Note

Trump's move that might have brought biggest political consequences inside GOP.

July 22, 2022, 6:01 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

For all the focus on what former President Donald Trump didn't do on Jan. 6, something he did -- a tweet calling then-Vice President Mike Pence a "coward," while Pence and his Secret Service detail had reason to fear for their lives -- might have brought the biggest political consequences inside the Republican Party.

As Thursday night's prime-time hearing made clear, that move prompted anger and disgust from Trump aides -- "fuel on the fire," in the analogy employed by two who resigned in the immediate aftermath of Jan. 6.

It also cemented a split between Trump and Pence that has implications for 2022 and 2024. It matters not just for who might be the next GOP presidential nominee -- it could easily be neither of them, though both could still run -- but because it resonates among Republicans who can't tolerate how Trump acted on and around Jan. 6.

The hearing surfaced chilling radio traffic revealed by a national security official, with agents protecting Pence making "calls to say goodbye to family members." It also established that it was Pence ordering military assets to secure the Capitol, while Trump vented anger and expressed approval for "hang Mike Pence" chants, according to former aides who testified.

Pence and Trump will both be campaigning Friday in Arizona, for competing candidates for governor. Trump's endorsed candidate continues to dispute the results of the 2020 election; earlier this week, Trump's choice for governor of Maryland won the primary after busing supporters to the Jan. 6 rally and tweeting that day that Pence is a "traitor."

Pence rarely engages publicly on Jan. 6-related topics and goes out of his way to downplay any splits with Trump by calling them distractions.

But as Trump flirts with 2024, he maintains fictions about Jan. 6 and, as committee members pointed out Thursday, has never taken public responsibility for his actions. A major theme of the hearings remains as relevant as ever: what happened last cycle could happen again.

PHOTO: A video of former US President Donald Trump recording an address to the nation on January 7, 2021, is displayed on a screen during a hearing in Washington, July 21, 2022.
A video of former US President Donald Trump recording an address to the nation on January 7, 2021, is displayed on a screen during a hearing in Washington, July 21, 2022.
Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

President Biden's COVID diagnosis, despite "very mild symptoms," arguably calls further attention to his mortality.

Biden is experiencing a runny nose, dry cough and fatigue, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said.

At 79 years old, the commander in chief is the oldest president to serve and has indicated he could run again in 2024. While age is a risk factor for more severe diseases, the president is fully vaccinated and twice boosted. He has also begun taking the antiviral pill Paxlovid, according to the White House.

"I really appreciate your inquires and concerns but I'm doing well, getting a lot of work done, going to continue to get it done," Biden said in a video posted to social media.

The White House and Biden allies alike disseminated multiple messages of assurance that the president was on the mend and working in isolation after routine testing yielded a positive result.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted that the president "feels fine." Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., tweeted that he spoke with Biden on the phone and he "sounded great." Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., tweeted that the president was "doing well."

Biden's illness, and any lingering symptoms he could have, will only invigorate conversations about if he can run in 2024, when he would be 82 years old.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks in from the White House in a video released on July 21, 2022, in Washington.
President Joe Biden speaks in from the White House in a video released on July 21, 2022, in Washington.
The White House via AP

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Less than two weeks before Arizona's primary elections, allegations of illegal actions from the "Put Arizona First" political action committee are causing waves in the Republican gubernatorial contest.

As reported by Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV, a complaint was filed Thursday with the Arizona secretary of state claiming the PAC -- which backs Donald Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake -- "illegally received and spent more than $2 million in the 2022 Republican primary for governor." The group was also alleged of having "misrepresented the identity of its sole contributor" or "facilitated an illegal contribution in the name of another person," as described by Public Integrity Alliance, the group filing the complaint.

According to the complaint, "the entirety of Put Arizona First's $2,164,500 in receipts ostensibly originated from a single entity" called "SPH Medical LLC." That entity, the complaint says, "remarkably, shares Put Arizona First's mailing address at a UPS store facility in Phoenix." Public Integrity Alliance is calling for a potential investigation by the Arizona Attorney General and says that "no business claiming the name 'SPH Medical LLC' has ever been organized under Arizona law or registered to do business in this state as a foreign company."

It remains unclear if the allegations and their adjacency to Lake will have an impact on the outcome of the primary given that voters have already been casting early ballots for more than two weeks. At the same time, the lead-up to the Aug. 2 contest has grown increasingly ugly as Lake and her Republican primary opponent, Karrin Taylor Robson, exchanged barbs about the respective authenticities of their candidacies and their allegiance to Trump.

In a recent tweet ahead of her appearance with Donald Trump on Friday, Lake's campaign called Robson an "open-borders globalist" and questioned her anti-abortion stance.

"If she ever claims to be a vegetarian, every beef cow in Arizona should run and hide," the tweet said.

Meanwhile, Robson, who has the endorsement of term-limited Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, has been slamming Lake for having anti-Trump sentiments in the past.

"Days before the inauguration she was helping organize anti-Trump protests with her fellow leftists," Robson tweeted earlier this week.

PHOTO: Arizona Republican gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake listens to a constituent during a rally at The Maverick in Tucson, Ariz., July 12, 2022.
Arizona Republican gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake listens to a constituent during a rally at The Maverick in Tucson, Ariz., July 12, 2022.
Rebecca Noble/Reuters

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

79. That's the percentage of Democrats who said that Biden's environmental policies were moving the country in the right direction, per a Pew poll conducted in May. The problem is that even among Democrats who approve of the Biden administration's approach, three in five still think the administration could be doing more -- and this was before Sen. Joe Manchin torpedoed Democrats' latest environmental policy efforts. Read more from FiveThirtyEight's Zoha Qamar on why Democrats are disillusioned when it comes to climate change.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. "Start Here" begins Friday morning with the latest on President Biden's COVID-19 diagnosis. ABC's Mary Bruce and Dr. Jennifer Ashton break down what we know. Later, Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the Jan. 6 committee, talks about key moments from last night’s prime-time hearing.


  • President Biden, who is isolating at the White House, holds several virtual, closed-press meetings.
  • White House COVID-19 Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre hold a briefing at 3 p.m. ET.
  • Former President Donald Trump will hold a rally for his slate of endorsed candidates in Prescott Valley, Arizona, starting at 9 p.m. ET.
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will attend a campaign event for gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson in Peoria, Arizona, starting at 1 p.m. ET.
  • ABC's "This Week" Guests: Former Vice President Al Gore and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Roundtable: Former New Jersey Gov. and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, former DNC Chair and ABC News Contributor Donna Brazile, Wall Street Journal White House Reporter Catherine Lucey and ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott

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

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