While the president was in Ohio for a political rally late Tuesday, his daughter was in Washington helping Vice President Mike Pence raise money for his own political effort. Pence collected about $1 million from donors for his new leadership committee, which can, in turn, dole out checks to political candidates. Ivanka Trump, a senior adviser to the president, introduced Pence at the rooftop terrace event near the Capitol. A former Indiana congressman, Pence serves as the White House’s chief liaison to lawmakers. His fundraiser capped a day that showcased that role: Earlier he had cast the deciding vote in the Senate’s effort to begin debating how to end and perhaps replace President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
Dozens of lawmakers, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Pence at his fundraiser. Ivanka Trump spoke glowingly of Pence and said his political committee would be helpful to Republicans facing 2018 congressional races. Two people in attendance described it afterward to The Associated Press. They demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about details from the private event. Pence formalized his political effort in May. Called the Great America Committee, it can accept checks of up to $5,000 from individual donors.
The move prompted speculation about Pence’s political ambitions apart from President Donald Trump. Pence’s advisers said they needed to form a federal political committee to warehouse donor and supporter lists he had amassed as governor of Indiana, where he had a state-level political committee. Marty Obst, the leader of Great America Committee, said the group won’t pay any of the legal fees that Pence is incurring as a result of ongoing probes into whether the Trump campaign had any ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election. As that fundraiser was going on, Trump was in Youngstown, Ohio for a political rally paid for by his re-election committee. His son Eric Trump attended that event, the sixth such rally since taking office in January.