Mike Pence and Donald Trump haven't been on the same page lately, but Indiana's Republican governor isn't abandoning the GOP presidential ticket — at least for now.
When audio surfaced of Trump boasting that he grabbed women "by the pussy" and got away with it because he was a television star, Pence quickly issued a statement repudiating the remark:
As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year-old video released yesterday. I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.
The governor also canceled a 7 October 2016 appearance at a Republican party fundraiser in Wisconsin.
Afterwards, Pence reportedly started looking for an exit door:
— Steve Clemons (@SCClemons) October 10, 2016
Another report stated that Pence wanted to see how Trump performed in his second debate against Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton on 8 October 2016 before deciding whether to leave the ticket:
The Indiana governor is “feeling low and concerned, but soldiering on,” said one Republican official who is close to Pence. “Much depends on tonight's debate."
Pence is weighing the “long-term best interest of the Republican Party,” the source said. “Everything is on the table, but the assumption is that they will plan to stay in the saddle with Trump if he performs halfway well tonight.”
Pence was expected to watch the debate with his family at the governor's residence in Indianapolis.
In theory, Pence (or even Trump) could drop off the ticket. Republican National Committee (RNC) rules state that the group has the authority to fill in any vacancies that "may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise":
The Republican National Committee may reconvene the national convention for the purpose of filling any such vacancies.
In voting under this rule, the Republican National Committee members representing any state shall be entitled to cast the same number of votes as said state was entitled to cast at the national convention.
In the event that the members of the Republican National Committee from any state shall not be in agreement in the casting of votes hereunder, the votes of such state shall be divided equally, including fractional votes, among the members of the Republican National Committee present or voting by proxy.
No candidate shall be chosen to fill any such vacancy except upon receiving a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the election.
During the debate, Trump himself fomented the air of uncertainty around the campaign when he broke with Pence regarding the use of U.S. military force in Syria:
Trump: He and I haven't spoken and I disagree. I disagree.
Martha Raddatz: You disagree with your running mate?
Trump: I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria's no longer Syria. Syria's Russia, and it's Iran — who [Clinton] made strong, and [John] Kerry and [President Barack] Obama made into a very powerful nation and a very rich nation very very quickly.
That same night, Pence's Twitter account posted a supportive message seemingly ignoring the disagreement:
— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) October 10, 2016
On 9 October 2016, Pence rebuked the rumors he was dropping off the ticket during an appearance on CNN:
I'll always keep my conversations with Donald Trump and my family private. But it's absolutely false to suggest that at any point in time we considered dropping off this ticket. It's the greatest honor of my life to have been nominated by my party to be the next vice president of the United States of America.
Despite the cheery rhetoric, Pence has already reportedly canceled an appearance at a Trump fundraiser in New Jersey.