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Pence pushes back on report about possible 2020 run preparations

Vice President Mike Pence has slammed a report suggesting he is preparing for a possible 2020 run for the White House.

In a written statement from Pence's office on Sunday, the vice president called "allegations" in The New York Times report -- about individuals in the Republican party starting what adds up to "a shadow campaign" -- "categorically false," and said they represent "the latest attempt by the media to divide" the Trump administration.

The Times reported on Saturday that "in interviews with more than 75 Republicans at every level of the party, elected officials, donors and strategists expressed widespread uncertainty about whether Mr. Trump would be on the ballot in 2020 and little doubt that others in the party are engaged in barely veiled contingency planning."

It also outlined how Pence has taken actions that include establishing a political fund-raising committee and packing his already busy schedule with political-heavy events like acting as keynote speaker for at least eight Republican events since February and hosting private gatherings for party donors at his residence.

The article "is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team," Pence said.

Pence also praised President Trump, saying "we are rebuilding the military," that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is "on the run," and that more than a million jobs have been created as the stock market hits all-time highs.

"The American people know that I could not be more honored to be working side by side with a president who is making America great again," Pence said.

"Whatever fake news may come our way, my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the President's agenda and see him re-elected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd," he added.

Pence previously established his own political action committee, the Great America Committee, in order to help raise money to get pro-Trump candidates elected. Mr. Trump's daughter and White House adviser Ivanka even stepped out for Pence's PAC, speaking at a fundraiser that raised upward of $1 million.

Nick Ayers, Pence's chief strategist told CBS News that that any speculation that the PAC is anything more than a vehicle to help other candidates, pay for the vice president's political travel, and a "legal necessity" to "all of Pence's political assets in an entity that he could use" is just that: speculation.

The report also mentioned potential interest in a 2020 run for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

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