The deployment comes as the White House has been flailing for a focused response to the escalating probe into whether Trump improperly pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. The president veered wildly over the weekend, accusing Democrats of “interfering in the 2020 Election” and calling Republican Sen. Mitt Romney a “pompous ‘ass’” who failed to understand that “my conversation with the Ukrainian President was a congenial and very appropriate one.”
But Republicans are eager to get in sync, saying the impeachment push has given them a powerful argument to use against Democrats. At each stop, Pence is expected to paint Democrats as being more focused on destroying the president than on solving the problems of their constituents.
“While the ‘Do Nothing Democrats’ attempt to distract with their endless investigations, the vice president and this administration are laser focused on policies that put Americans first and make our country great,” said Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for Pence.
Democrats, Republicans point out, successfully prosecuted a similar case during the House GOP-led impeachment of Bill Clinton. Republicans suffered in that year’s midterm election, losing five congressional seats.
While national surveys show growing support for impeachment, Republicans contend it’s far lower in the Democratic-held swing districts they’re targeting. The National Republican Congressional Committee released a polling memo last week that argued that two-thirds of voters in those districts “agree that Democrats in Congress are too obsessed with impeaching the president and should be working on” other issues.
Roughly two dozen of the 31 House Democrats who hail from districts Trump won in 2016 have expressed support for the impeachment inquiry.
The House GOP campaign arm has been running digital commercials in over a dozen districts and the pro-Trump outside group America First Priorities is expected to begin a seven-figure advertising offensive later this month targeting those Democrats. The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, is spending $2 million on ads and has used Slotkin’s support for the inquiry to raise money for her eventual GOP opponent. The committee also has deployed field staffers to Democratic-held districts to organize protests during the two-week congressional recess.
RNC officials briefed major donors at a New York City retreat this weekend on the impeachment-focused media blitz.
Pence himself has been under the microscope over the Ukraine matter. House Democrats have pressed Pence to clarify how much he knew about Trump’s apparent effort to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and has requested the vice president turn over documents related to the inquiry by Oct. 15.
“At every stop Vice President Pence makes he’ll have to answer for his own role in this growing scandal,” said Cole Leiter, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman, “and any candidate who is still willing to appear publicly with Vice President Pence will have made it clear that they accept the Trump administration’s wholesale eagerness to betray the office of the American president.”