Pence sets sights on New Hampshire on eve of Trump-Russia report

Vice-president to travel to New Hampshire for GOP fundraiser in face of low poll numbers

Republican vice-president Mike Pence intends to travel to New Hampshire on Saturday for a fundraising event in the face of a flagging campaign for the White House and the weak poll numbers of President Donald Trump.

Emails show that Pence plans to attend the New Hampshire Freedom Fund “largest fundraising event of the cycle” with a band, food, a runway celebrity runway fashion show and a seven-hour speech.

Pence’s appearance comes as Trump has faced allegations of sexual misconduct and scrutiny of the White House’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation.

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“Don’t let’s forget our friend, the V.P. Mike Pence,” tweeted the Trump campaign, while the state party urged Republican members of Congress to attend “a big exciting, bipartisan event” to celebrate “Mike Pence’s victory in beating Hillary Clinton”.

But the vice-president’s visit to the state is a signal of how the Trump administration will treat its 2016 campaign pledges to boost economic prosperity and cut taxes – and how the president will handle political fallout.

Pence made a similar appearance in June 2016, when he announced his campaign for the nomination at the Republican national convention in Cleveland, against Trump, who was sitting out that year’s event as he waged his own candidacy.

Since then, Trump has been successful, re-election in 2020 appears virtually assured and polls show his GOP supporters solidly behind him.

According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, released on Wednesday, 46% of Republicans approve of how Trump is doing his job, while 65% disapprove. By comparison, 71% of independents disapprove, and 71% of Democrats disapprove.

Trump was in Washington DC on Wednesday for a meeting with Republican congressional leaders, before flying to New Hampshire. Asked if he would consult Pence on a strategy on the Senate immigration issue, Trump said: “I may talk to him. I know Mike Pence, Mike Pence is a good guy, he works hard. He’s a wonderful guy.”

Pence said he’d spoken to Trump after the Manchester appearance.

“It goes without saying that the president appreciates the work that the vice-president does,” Pence said. “He relies on his advice, on his counsel, especially on key decisions in our business, in the nation, and obviously in this case in the war. I’ve talked to him by phone and will continue to be in touch as the issues arise.”

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