Republicans are reportedly beginning to acknowledge the real possibility of President Donald Trump being replaced by Vice President Mike Pence.
Conservatives are warming up to the idea of a Pence presidency amid Trump's latest scandals, including his alleged leak of classified information to Russian officials, his termination of former FBI Director James Comey, and reports that he asked Comey to drop the investigation into former National Security Advisnr Michael Flynn, Politico reported.
“If what the [New York Times] reported is true, Pence is probably rehearsing,” one House Republican, who wish not to be named, told Politico. “It’s just like Nixon. From the standpoint that it’s never the underlying issue, it is always the cover-up.”
Some Republicans appear to have grown weary of defending Trump and believe Pence looks like a good alternative at the moment, especially with the Justice Department moving forward with a special prosecutor for the FBI's Russia investigation.
Erick Erickson, a conservative pundit who once denounced the idea of a Trump presidency but then pledged to give him a chance after he won, wrote that Republicans should now leave Trump's corner because they “have no need for him with Mike Pence in the wings,” for website The Resurgent.
Erickson also wrote about the potential damage that could be done under four years of Trump.
"Frankly, if there is not a course correction soon, the President needs to consider resigning," Erickson wrote. "He beat Hillary Clinton. He spared the republic that disaster. But the status quo of the Trump administration is going to do more long-term harm than good.
"He is going to enable and create a resurgent, combative Democratic Party that will undermine everything he has done and usher in impeachment hearings.
"He risks not just a loss of the House, but a loss of Republican seats orders of magnitude greater than the Democrats lost under Barack Obama."
Some Republican lobbyists are already acknowledging the possibility of Pence stepping in for Trump.
“I find it unlikely that Trump is going anywhere,” one GOP lobbyist, who also wished to be unidentified, wrote in an email. “That being said, Pence is well-liked on the Hill, fairly predictable, and doesn't stir up much unnecessary drama.”
Historians are also pointing out the similarities between Pence and former President Gerald Ford, who assumed office after Richard Nixon resigned amid the Watergate scandal.
“It’s almost an eerie comparison that a more mild-mannered, religious conservative Republican Gerald Ford came in,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. “He’s much like Pence in temperament and personality. He doesn't have that acerbic side that Nixon and Trump had.”
“Having Pence in reserve is one of the few things, I think, that is calming Republican nerves,” Brinkley added. “It would just be a more mild-mannered Pence who never says anything offensive, who doesn't take to Twitter, who goes to Church every Sunday.”
Trump took to Twitter on May 18 to once again downplay the controversy surrounding his latest scandals.
"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special [counsel] appointed!" the president tweeted at about 7:40 a.m.
"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" he added, about 13 minutes later.