Tonight is definitely going to be interesting. In the two weeks since the first presidential debate, a lot has happened — like on Friday night when The Washington Post released a video where Donald Trump was recorded saying horrible things about his advances on women. Since then, Trump's running mate has condemned his words in the video — but will Mike Pence be at the second presidential debate in support of his Republican party running mate? It appears that the jury is still out on that one.
After the video's release Friday night, Pence was not happy. According to NBC News, upon learning about the video, Pence cancelled an appearance to campaign for Trump in Wisconsin. He later released a statement on Saturday morning in regards to the video:
As a husband and a 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. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people. We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night.
It is his words, plus his urgency to cancel his campaign appearance, that make people wonder whether or not Pence will be sitting in the front row at the debate tonight. On one hand, Pence's appearance could symbolize unity as their political party is currently in chaos. On the other hand, Pence's absence could mean that Trump has to work incredibly hard to redeem himself — not only for the American voters but for his running mate, as well. If Pence did not show up, it will likely act as an indicator that voters and political insiders alike are hoping for more than a half-apology from the presidential candidate.
Pence's schedule is certainly open to appear at the debate tonight as Pence does not have any campaign appearances scheduled for Sunday. Pence was in attendance at Trump's first debate, so if he were to be absent, supporters might immediately sense that something more is brewing behind the scenes.
Howevr, although Pence may not have agreed with Trump's words, the two appear to be in it for the long haul — at least for the time being. According to Fox News, Trump indicated that he and Pence would continue to fight to become president and vice president, amid the controversy. ("I never, ever give up," Trump told The Wall Street Journal.)
Pence's appearance at the debate could help Trump's performance. After all, many thought Pence had won the vice presidential debate, according to Politico. House Speaker Paul Ryan has even suggested that he wants "Donald Trump to pick up where Mike Pence just left off" Sunday night. Pence's face in the audience could serve as a reminder (or perhaps a warning) for Trump to strive to well.
While Pence has not officially stated whether he will be attending the debate, don't be surprised if he does show up. Even though Pence said that he does not condone Trump's 2005 remarks, if the 2016 campaign has taught us anything at all, it's that everything is possible.