Aug. 6 (UPI) — Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday called a report “categorically false” after it suggested Republicans are forming a “shadow campaign” to help elect him for the U.S. presidency in 2020.

The New York Times on Saturday reported that some Republicans are working quietly to mount campaigns for the presidency regardless of whether President Donald Trump seeks reelection.

The Times article said Pence, Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. Ben Sasse and Gov. John Kasich are likely “shadow” candidates, citing their travel schedules and potential lobbying for donations.

In response, Pence rejected the Times’ report as “fake news.”

“Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration,” Pence wrote in a statement. “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 elected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd.”

The Times said it conducted interviews with more than 75 Republicans at every level of the party, elected officials, donors and strategists who expressed “widespread uncertainty” about whether Trump would be on the GOP ballot in 2020. The sources also said the Republican Party is engaged in “barely veiled contingency planning” in hopes to secure the White House with or without Trump.

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday also rejected the Times article about Pence’s political aspirations, calling it “complete fiction.”

“It is absolutely true that the vice president is getting ready for 2020 — for reelection as vice president,” Conway told ABC News.

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