Trump blames 'surprise' question for failure to endorse Mike Pence's expected 2024 presidential run

Samuel Osborne

Donald Trump has claimed he hesitated when asked if he would back Mike Pence for a possible presidential run in 2024 because he was caught off-guard by the question.

However, given the chance to answer again, he refrained from offering his full endorsement to his vice president.

“You can’t put me in that position,” Mr Trump first said on Fox News’ Fox and Friends on 14 June, after he was asked if he would endorse Mr Pence should he seek to succeed him in 2024.

When offered a chance to explain himself, Mr Trump told NBC News he had hesitated “because it was a surprise question”.

In an interview broadcast on Sunday, he told Meet the Press: “I’m not even thinking of it. It’s so far out. I mean, It’s so far out.”

Mr Trump added: ”Now what happens in 2024? I don’t know that Mike is going to run. I don’t know who’s running or anything else.”

Mr Pence has not explicitly said he will run for president in 2024, but he is widely expected to.

On Sunday, Mr Pence glossed over Mr Trump’s comments, telling CNN’s State of the Nation his boss’s remark reflected ”the fact that the only election he and I are focused on is 2020”.

Mr Trump formally announced his 2020 reelection bid last week with Mr Pence at his side.