Mike Pence

Written by  //  April 15, 2018  //  Politics, U.S.  //  Comments Off on Mike Pence

Another Embarrassing Story of Mike Pence’s Unrequited Love for Trump
By Adam K. Raymond
(New York) Vice-President Mike Pence has never been shy about supplicating himself to President Trump. He’s repeatedly, and obsessively, praised Trump’s “broad shoulders,” and cameras have caught him many times staring at Trump the way the president stares at an opportunity to destroy norms.
Previous reports have indicated that Pence is no less obsequious in private, taking pains to make fun of himself to please Trump, among other humiliations. Peter Nicholas adds to the scholarship on Pence’s love for Trump in his latest article in the Atlantic,

14 April
Buttigieg v Pence: Indiana politicians put faith on the election frontline
(The Guardian) The Republican vice-president, 59, who is opposed to gay marriage, and the 37-year-old Democratic presidential candidate, who is married to a man, have found themselves at opposite ends of a debate about homosexuality, religion and tolerance.
They have also become avatars of a struggle between the Christian right, which has long sought to claim a monopoly on morality, and a resurgent Christian left preaching inclusiveness and social justice. For Indiana, and America, they offer radically different readings of the Bible and how it should inform 21st-century politics.

8 April
Love this response!
Buttigieg to Mike Pence: “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator”
(Vox) During his speech on Sunday, which was made at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch, the presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, mayor spoke candidly about his sexuality, emphasizing how his gay identity is intertwined with his faith. A key point he emphasized: being gay is not a personal choice.
“That’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand,” Buttigieg said. “That if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

21 March
Pence woos 2016 anti-Trumpers to bankroll billion-dollar reelection
The vice president is serving as a conduit and Trump translator for the traditional GOP donor set.
(Politico) … The private dinner provides a window into a behind-the-scenes, Pence-led mission: to ensure that Republican givers who never came around to Trump in 2016 are on board for 2020. With Democrats already raking in colossal amounts of cash, Republicans estimate they’ll need to raise around $1 billion — a figure that will require the party’s donor class to be all-in. Party officials also want to deprive any would-be Trump primary challengers of the financial oxygen they’d need to mount a campaign. … Pence — long a favorite of conservatives — is undertaking a lower-profile but critical role of offering assurance to the deep-pocketed Republican elites who will be needed to finance Trump’s behemoth campaign apparatus. Among those the vice president has courted is the Club for Growth, a prominent anti-tax group that in 2016 aired TV ads warning Republican primary voters that “there’s nothing conservative about Donald Trump.”
… The Pence blitz commenced after the inauguration when he began headlining policy briefings at the White House that were attended by an array of major GOP givers, including Richard Uihlein, a packaging company executive who gave $2 million to an anti-Trump super PAC.
Other attendees were from the influential Koch political network, which sat out the 2016 election. The gatherings were organized by Marc Short, who was recently named Pence’s chief of staff and formerly served as president of the Koch-backed Freedom Partners outfit.


Opinion: Mueller Hints That Mike Pence May Be Indicted Soon
(Politicususa) Mike Pence thought he could avoid controversy, and stay far enough away from Trump’s criminal scandals to inherit the presidency after Trump’s ouster. He even thinks that is God’s will.
The problem with this thinking is that it would mean Pence had to avoid not just controversy, but also criminal behavior. But it seems it hasn’t worked out that way.
Special Counsel Mueller released his heavily redacted 13-page sentencing memo for Michael Flynn on Tuesday night, he did NOT redact one key piece of information. The memo clearly states that the Trump transition team was heavily involved in Flynn’s illegal dealings with Russia.
And, as everyone now remembers, the person in charge of that transition team was none other than vice president-elect Mike Pence.
Earlier this year Mueller obtained all of the transition team’s emails, and that’s when the speculation started that both Pence and Jared Kushner — another transition team member — were in deep trouble.

16 November
Is Mike Pence Loyal? Trump Is Asking, Despite His Recent Endorsement
By Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers
(NYT) In recent weeks, with his electoral prospects two years from now much on his mind, Mr. Trump has focused on the person who has most publicly tethered his fortunes to him. In one conversation after another he has asked aides and advisers a pointed question: Is Mike Pence loyal?
… In recent weeks, Mr. Pence has stepped into public frays to defend the president, saying that “everyone has their own style” when asked if Mr. Trump’s fiery political and personal language have led to violent acts, including the mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue and bomb threats mailed to prominent Democratic figures.
On other issues, Mr. Pence has staked out a firm position when the president has seemed noncommittal or disengaged.
He has repeatedly vowed consequences for the Saudis over the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And before attending the Asia-Pacific summit meeting in Singapore in Mr. Trump’s absence on Wednesday, Mr. Pence forcefully told Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, that political violence that caused more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee that country was “without excuse.”
On his Asia trip, Mr. Pence has also called for press freedom even as the president continues to assail journalists back home.
The two men speak daily, sometimes multiple times. But some of Mr. Trump’s advisers believe that the dynamic between the president and Mr. Pence has changed in the first two years of Mr. Trump’s term, part of a pattern in many of Mr. Trump’s relationships.
Some of Mr. Trump’s outside advisers have mentioned Nikki R. Haley, … former governor of South Carolina, as a potential running mate.
Some of Mr. Trump’s evangelical supporters feel particularly strongly that making a change would be a mistake. … [However] A third of white evangelicals who support Trump, Mr. Jones said, indicated there was virtually nothing the president could do to shake their trust — which theoretically includes selecting a new running mate.

31 October
Mike Pence scrambles to distance himself from defrocked “Jew for Jesus” rabbi
Days after the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Pence invited a “Messianic rabbi” to “offer a prayer”
(Salon) Vice President Mike Pence is facing harsh criticism over his decision to appear at a campaign rally in Michigan with a so-called “Messianic rabbi” who cited Jesus Christ while mourning the deaths of 11 Jews from a synagogue shooting near Pittsburgh.
Rabbi Loren Jacobs is the founder and senior rabbi of Congregation Shema Yisrael in the community of Bloomfield Hills and prayed for the 11 Jews who died by invoking “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God and father of my lord and savior Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, and my God and father, too,” according to NBC News. The most conspicuous group associated with Messianic Judaism is “Jews for Jesus,” and the group, in general, believes that the New Testament represents the word of God and that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.
In other words, they are Christians who only claim to be Jews.
But according to Jacobs’ own ordination, the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, he was defrocked 15 years ago.
Mike Pence sparks outrage after appearing with “Christian rabbi” in Michigan
Rabbi Loren Jacobs prayed for comfort for the Pittsburgh shooting victims — and for Republican candidates to win.

30 August
It Turns Out Mike Pence Has Been Working on Being Unlikable for Decades
Your vice president once turned in his fraternity brothers for—gasp—drinking beer.
(Esquire)  The late great Indiana political blogger Doghouse Riley used to call Mike Pence “the Choirboy,” and hipped us all to the fact that this was a walking haircut stuffed with piety, ignorance, and not a whole lot else. Comes now CNN with a profile, and we learn from the people with whom he went to college that Pence has been practicing to be an unlikable and thoroughgoing prig for decades now.

24 August
Why Mike Pence is such a sycophant
(LA Times) It’s the vice president’s job to bide his time. He waits for the chance to fulfill one of two duties prescribed by the Constitution: to break tie votes in the Senate or to succeed presidents who cannot finish a term in office. Vice President Mike Pence has already fulfilled the former. After Paul Manafort’s guilty verdict and Michael Cohen’s guilty plea this week, it seems he may fulfill the latter, too.
And if that comes to pass, no one will be less surprised than Pence.
Pence believes that God has a plan for him, and if that plan requires him to temporarily abandon his principles as well as his dignity, so be it.
The key to understanding Pence’s version of religion lies in his favorite bit of scripture, from Jeremiah, which reads, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This verse is now on display in the vice president’s residence. It is especially popular among Calvinists who believe that God directly orchestrates everything that happens on Earth.
… Indeed, the intensity of Pence’s fawning has led George Will to describe him as “America’s most repulsive figure.” The vice president reached the nadir of his toady ways at the end of last year when he spent three minutes extolling Trump at a Cabinet meeting and managed to work in one note of praise every 12 seconds.

28 July
Illustration by Ben Wiseman
Frank Bruni: Mike Pence, Holy Terror
Are you sure you want to get rid of Donald Trump?

There are problems with impeaching Donald Trump. A big one is the holy terror waiting in the wings.
That would be Mike Pence, who mirrors the boss more than you realize. He’s also self-infatuated. Also a bigot. Also a liar. Also cruel.
To that brimming potpourri he adds two ingredients that Trump doesn’t genuinely possess: the conviction that he’s on a mission from God and a determination to mold the entire nation in the shape of his own faith, a regressive, repressive version of Christianity. Trade Trump for Pence and you go from kleptocracy to theocracy.
That’s the takeaway from a forthcoming book by the journalists Michael D’Antonio, who previously wrote “The Truth About Trump,” and Peter Eisner. It’s titled “The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence,” it will be published on Aug. 28 and it’s the most thorough examination of the vice president’s background to date.
The book persuasively illustrates what an ineffectual congressman he was, apart from cozying up to the Koch brothers, Betsy DeVos and other rich Republican donors; the clumsiness and vanity of his one term as governor of Indiana, for which he did something that predecessors hadn’t and “ordered up a collection of custom-embroidered clothes — dress shirts, polo shirts, and vests and jackets — decorated with his name and the words Governor of Indiana”; the strong possibility that he wouldn’t have won re-election; his luck in being spared that humiliation by the summons from Trump, who needed an outwardly bland, intensely religious character witness to muffle his madness and launder his sins; and the alacrity with which he says whatever Trump needs him to regardless of the truth.
…  It lays out his disregard for science, evident in his onetime insistence that smoking doesn’t cause cancer and a belief that alarms about climate change were “a secret effort to increase government control over people’s lives for some unstated diabolical purpose,” according to the book.
It suggests callousness at best toward African-Americans. As governor, Pence refused to pardon a black man who had spent almost a decade in prison for a crime that he clearly hadn’t committed. He also ignored a crisis — similar to the one in Flint, Mich. — in which people in a poor, largely black Indiana city were exposed to dangerously high levels of lead. D’Antonio told me: “I think he’s just as driven by prejudice as Trump is.”

Trump is no longer the worst person in government
Vice President Pence sometimes seems to agree with President Trump just by looking at him. Here are some of the ways he does it. (see video)
(WaPost) Vice President Pence sometimes seems to agree with President Trump just by looking at him. Here are some of the ways he does it. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
Donald Trump, with his feral cunning, knew. The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness, could, Trump knew, become America’s most repulsive public figure. And Pence, who has reached this pinnacle by dethroning his benefactor, is augmenting the public stock of useful knowledge. Because his is the authentic voice of today’s lickspittle Republican Party, he clarifies this year’s elections: Vote Republican to ratify groveling as governing.
Last June, a Trump Cabinet meeting featured testimonials offered to Dear Leader by his forelock-tugging colleagues. His chief of staff, Reince Priebus, caught the spirit of the worship service by thanking Trump for the “blessing” of being allowed to serve him. The hosannas poured forth from around the table, unredeemed by even a scintilla of insincerity. Priebus was soon deprived of his blessing, as was Tom Price. Before Price’s ecstasy of public service was truncated because of his incontinent enthusiasm for charter flights, he was the secretary of health and human services who at the Cabinet meeting said, “I can’t thank you enough for the privileges you’ve given me.” The vice president chimed in but saved his best riff for a December Cabinet meeting when, as The Post’s Aaron Blake calculated, Pence praised Trump once every 12 seconds for three minutes: “I’m deeply humbled. . . . ” Judging by the number of times Pence announces himself “humbled,” he might seem proud of his humility, but that is impossible because he is conspicuously devout and pride is a sin.
Between those two Cabinet meetings, Pence and his retinue flew to Indiana for the purpose of walking out of an Indianapolis Colts football game, thereby demonstrating that football players kneeling during the national anthem are intolerable to someone of Pence’s refined sense of right and wrong. Which brings us to his Arizona salute last week to Joe Arpaio, who was sheriff of Maricopa County until in 2016 voters wearied of his act.
[Jennifer Rubin: This is why Pence’s sickening embrace of Arpaio is so important]
Noting that Arpaio was in his Tempe audience, Pence, oozing unctuousness from every pore, called Arpaio “another favorite,” professed himself “honored” by Arpaio’s presence, and praised him as “a tireless champion of . . . the rule of law.” Arpaio, a grandstanding, camera-chasing bully and darling of the thuggish right, is also a criminal, convicted of contempt of court for ignoring a federal judge’s order to desist from certain illegal law enforcement practices. Pence’s performance occurred eight miles from the home of Sen. John McCain, who could teach Pence — or perhaps not — something about honor.
Vice President Pence left the NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 8 as several 49ers players knelt in protest during the national anthem. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)
Henry Adams said that “practical politics consists in ignoring facts,” but what was the practicality in Pence’s disregard of the facts about Arpaio? His pandering had no purpose beyond serving Pence’s vocation, which is to ingratiate himself with his audience of the moment. The audience for his praise of Arpaio was given to chanting “Build that wall!” and applauded Arpaio, who wears Trump’s pardon like a boutonniere.
Hoosiers, of whom Pence is one, sometimes say that although Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky and flourished in Illinois, he spent his formative years — December 1816 to March 1830 — in Indiana, which he left at age 21. Be that as it may, on Jan. 27, 1838, Lincoln, then 28, delivered his first great speech, to the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield. Less than three months earlier, Elijah Lovejoy, an abolitionist newspaper editor in Alton, Ill., 67 miles from Springfield, was murdered by a pro-slavery mob. Without mentioning Lovejoy — it would have been unnecessary — Lincoln lamented that throughout America, “so lately famed for love of law and order,” there was a “mobocratic spirit” among “the vicious portion of [the] population.” So, “let reverence for the laws . . . become the political religion of the nation.” Pence, one of evangelical Christians’ favorite pin-ups, genuflects at various altars, as the mobocratic spirit and the vicious portion require.
[Dana Milbank: The week that proved God exists — and has a wicked sense of humor]
It is said that one cannot blame people who applaud Arpaio and support his rehabilitators (Trump, Pence, et al.), because, well, globalization or health-care costs or something. Actually, one must either blame them or condescend to them as lacking moral agency. Republicans silent about Pence have no such excuse.
There will be negligible legislating by the next Congress, so ballots cast this November will be most important as validations or repudiations of the harmonizing voices of Trump, Pence, Arpaio and the like. Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying. (9 May 2018)

17 May
Actually, Pence’s Toadying Is His Best Shot at Becoming President
In looking at various scenarios for near-term presidential elections, it’s helpful to separate Pence’s chances at becoming a GOP presidential nominee from his party’s chances of winning a general election — 2020 could be a tough year for any Republican nominee. Remember: the GOP has been on the short end of the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. Demographic trends are famously not moving in their direction. And totally aside from the other problematic issues the Trump presidency has created, the odds of a major economic turndown by 2020 are pretty high, and that’s not even taking into account the possibility of trade wars or other political disturbances.

14 – 15 May
Wherever Pence goes, Trump—at his petty best—shows up to steal the spotlight
(Daily Kos) If anyone ever harbored the notion that Donald Trump’s travel schedule had anything to do with international diplomacy or even helping the Republican party through the midterms, forget about it. The chief motivation behind public appearances of the pettiest and most pitiful of all presidents primarily revolves around making sure he upstages his vice president, Mike Pence.
When Pence was slated to keynote the National Rifle Association convention that Trump never even planned on attending, for instance, Trump suddenly wanted in, writes Politico. … Pence is in the corner, all right—planning his rise-from-Trump’s-ashes 2020 bid for the presidency. May they both take each other down in a blaze of ignominy.
Pence vs. Trump civil war ripples through the West Wing as Pence positions himself for misfortune
(NYT evening brief) Vice President Mike Pence is seizing a big role in the midterm elections. Trump allies aren’t happy about it. With the White House lacking a strategy for November, Mr. Pence has stepped into the void, speaking at dozens of Republican events and shaping the president’s endorsements in crucial races.
That has worried Trump loyalists who see the vice president forging his own power base, possibly with an eye on an unpredictable presidential election in 2020. Above, Mr. Pence and his wife, Karen, at a rally last week in Elkhart, Ind.

10 May
Mike Pence tells Mueller ‘it’s time to wrap it up’
(CNN) The vice president’s comments to NBC News are his most direct yet in pressuring the special counsel to drop the investigation, which President Donald Trump has frequently referred to as a “witch hunt.”
“Our administration has provided more than a million documents; we’ve fully cooperated in it, and in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up,” Pence said in an interview.
Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham responded to Pence’s remarks, both defending Mueller’s process.

God’s Plan for Mike Pence
Will the vice president—and the religious right—be rewarded for their embrace of Donald Trump?
(The Atlantic Magazine) It’s easy to see how Pence could put so much faith in the possibilities of divine intervention. The very fact that he is standing behind a lectern bearing the vice-presidential seal is, one could argue, a loaves-and-fishes-level miracle. Just a year earlier, he was an embattled small-state governor with underwater approval ratings, dismal reelection prospects, and a national reputation in tatters. In many ways, Pence was on the same doomed trajectory as the conservative-Christian movement he’d long championed—once a political force to be reckoned with, now a battered relic of the culture wars.
Because God works in mysterious ways (or, at the very least, has a postmodern sense of humor), it was Donald J. Trump—gracer of Playboy covers, delighter of shock jocks, collector of mistresses—who descended from the mountaintop in the summer of 2016, GOP presidential nomination in hand, offering salvation to both Pence and the religious right. The question of whether they should wed themselves to such a man was not without its theological considerations. But after eight years of Barack Obama and a string of disorienting political defeats, conservative Christians were in retreat and out of options. So they placed their faith in Trump—and then, incredibly, he won.
In Pence, Trump has found an obedient deputy whose willingness to suffer indignity and humiliation at the pleasure of the president appears boundless. When Trump comes under fire for describing white nationalists as “very fine people,” Pence is there to assure the world that he is actually a man of great decency. When Trump needs someone to fly across the country to an NFL game so he can walk out in protest of national-anthem kneelers, Pence heads for Air Force Two.


A long and highly informative profile
23 October
The Danger of President Pence
Trump’s critics yearn for his exit. But Mike Pence, the corporate right’s inside man, poses his own risks.
By Jane Mayer
(The New Yorker) Pence, who has dutifully stood by the President, mustering a devotional gaze rarely seen since the days of Nancy Reagan, serves as a daily reminder that the Constitution offers an alternative to Trump. The worse the President looks, the more desirable his understudy seems. The more Trump is mired in scandal, the more likely Pence’s elevation to the Oval Office becomes, unless he ends up legally entangled as well.
Pence has taken care to appear extraordinarily loyal to Trump, so much so that Joel K. Goldstein, a historian and an expert on Vice-Presidents who teaches law at St. Louis University, refers to him as the “Sycophant-in-Chief.” But Pence has the political experience, the connections, the discipline, and the ideological mooring that Trump lacks. He also has a close relationship with the conservative billionaire donors who have captured the Republican Party’s agenda in recent years..

15 May
Trump doesn’t embody what’s wrong with Washington. Pence does.
By Richard Cohen
(WaPost) When history holds its trial to account for the Donald Trump presidency, Trump himself will be acquitted on grounds of madness. …  Such will not be the case for Mike Pence, the toady vice president and the personification of much that has gone wrong in Washington. On any given day, Pence will do his customary spot-on imitation of a bobblehead. Standing near Trump in the Oval Office, he will nod his head robotically as the president says one asinine thing after another and then, maybe along with others, he will be honored with a lie or a version of the truth so mangled by contradictions and fabrications that a day in the White House is like a week on LSD.
I pick on Pence because he is the most prominent and highest-ranked of President Trump’s lackeys. Like with all of them, Pence’s touching naivete and trust are routinely abused. He vouches for things that are not true — no talk of sanctions between Mike Flynn and the Russians, for instance, or more recently the reason James B. Comey was fired as FBI director. In both instances, the president either lied to him or failed to tell him the truth. The result was the same: The vice president appeared clueless.
I don’t feel an iota of sympathy for Pence. He was among a perfidious group of political opportunists who pushed Trump’s candidacy while having to know that he was intellectually, temperamentally and morally unfit for the presidency. They stuck with him as he mocked the disabled, belittled women, insulted Hispanics, libeled Mexicans and promiscuously promised the impossible and ridiculous — all that “Day One” nonsense like how the wall would be built and Mexico would pay for it.

7 February
Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary; Pence Breaks Tie
(NYT)  Betsy DeVos, a wealthy Republican donor with almost no experience in public education, was confirmed by the Senate as the nation’s education secretary on Tuesday, but only with the help of a historic tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence after weeks of protests and two defections within her own party.
The 51-to-50 vote capped an all-night vigil on the Senate floor, where, one by one, Democrats denounced Ms. DeVos to a mostly empty chamber. But they did not get a third Republican defection that would have stopped Ms. DeVos — a billionaire who has devoted much of her life to promoting charter schools and vouchers — from becoming the steward of the nation’s nearly 100,000 public schools.
It was the first time a vice president has been summoned to the Capitol to break a tie on a cabinet nomination.

23 January
The Radical Crusade of Mike Pence
He’s trampled on the rights of women, LGBTQ folks and the poor. Then there’s the incompetence. Meet, quite possibly, the next president
(RollingStone) During my travels across the self-proclaimed Crossroads of America, I learned that Mike Pence had once paid his mortgage with campaign funds, dragged his feet during an HIV epidemic and a lead-poisoning outbreak, signed an anti-gay-rights bill that nearly cost Indiana millions of dollars, lost his mind on national TV with George Stephanopoulos, and turned away Syrian refugees in an unconstitutional ploy laughed out of federal court. And he ended his gubernatorial term unpopular enough that his re-election bid in a Republican state seemed dicey at best.
… So what do we know about Pence? The governor benefited greatly from the wall-to-wall “Trump is a crazy monkey throwing feces” media coverage during the fall campaign, in that his record was undercovered, but it’s out there and suggests that his impact as vice president will screw African-Americans, women, the poor and any other square peg in round America. His concerns for the parts of Indiana outside his comfort zone toggled between disinterest and disdain.

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