There is no question, Vice President Mike Pence is the worst of the two evils.
While Donald Trump may be a chest thumping, ego maniacal womanizer who brags about his nuclear button, laments over his small hands and has become a international meme, the Man behind the curtain is much more dangerous.
As nations around the globe laugh at the antics of Trump, whether because of his outrageous twitter attacks against celebrities, lying about his inauguration attendance or rambling about covfefe, we in America have accepted that he is no more relative to national strategy or politics than a potato.
Thus far, in his 13 months as President, Trump’s only personal success has been embarrassing himself before a world audience on a daily basis. Our plight as a country has become a running joke to so many who seem bizarrely detached from this new reality in which we are trying to adapt. It has more to do with social media desensitizing us to the nightmarish consequences of tragedy than simple indifference. We’re used to seeing pictures of dead immigrant children washed up on beaches and bodies piled up on top of rubble after a horrific bombing in Aleppo. Human beings have put on an emotional armor that has conditioned them to be unaffected, mostly to protect themselves from slipping into a sense of hopelessness and defeat. “Thoughts and prayers” via a few quick keyboard strokes have substituted genuine reactions to the suffering of others we witness with alarming frequency.
This unsettling separation of ourselves from dangerous truths and inevitable consequences is partly how a man like Donald Trump became President. While many voted for him, purely motivated by an impractical rage against the establishment, others did it for the comedic value. Republicans didn’t believe it could happen until they were suddenly faced with him as their newly minted nominee. Democrats were lulled into a sense of absolute security by gallup polls, expert commentary and news coverage which declared Hillary Clinton as a guaranteed landslide winner… so millions didn’t even bother to vote.
Partisan politics have destroyed democracy. We’re no longer hearing topics debated on senate floor; Instead politics are the new Superbowl and you’re either team Democratic Donkeys or Republican Elephants. Americans are divided by Red and Blue and they are ferociously loyal to their color. Social issues are irrelevant. So are economics, foreign relations, civil rights and the most basic of all, common sense. It is more important to win than to be right, regardless of the damage done in the process or pursuit of “Winning.” A surprising number of people who voted for Trump have experienced voter regret, realizing that the delight the thought they’d take from seeing him give ‘snowflake liberals’ a sharp upper-hook, was also dealt to them. Some are smart enough to feel betrayed. Others are so blindly devoted to their own team that they don’t mind being a casualty of it, as if they view themselves as a willing- and necessary sacrificial lamb required for the political Gods to destroy the other side and favor theirs.
Unfortunately, for Republicans, it was Trump they found occupying their political God seat. They’ve watched in sheer terror as he, and the unqualified lackeys he has appointed to power positions, have disassembled America’s perception of fairness, progress and priority.
In an unusual partnership, Donald Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence, has been unusually quiet throughout most of the their reign so far. While Trump spent time in his first year campaigning for his next Presidential bid in 2020, Pence rarely made public or media appearances, and when he did, he was tactful rather than defensive; well practiced in dodging the damning questions hurled at him regarding his boss. It’s clear that Pence maintains a far more Presidential demeanor that Trump, manicuring his responses and speeches instead of vomiting his words all over the podium.
It has been speculated that inner-circle Republicans have anticipated Trump’s impeachment from the onset. Trump and his campaign have been beleaguered by legal troubles since he took the oath of office. Allegations of collusion with Russian entities and election tampering, obstruction of justice, failing to divest from his business investments, misuse of campaign funds, accusations of sexual misconduct and even extramarital affairs with multiple adult film stars remain ongoing. Yet, while Trump takes to twitter at 4 am to ridicule celebrities, foreign leaders even those players on his own team, Pence remains quietly on the sidelines as Trump slowly self destructs.
Pence’s visible distance from Trump isn’t incidental, but an act of self preservation. Nearly 40 White House staff have resigned or been fired since Trump assumed power, falling on the sword of Special Investigator Robert Mueller who has been tasked with examining Trump and his closest allies. Four Trump advisers were arrested before the incoming administration could decorate their new offices.
Pence never comments on these circumstances, instead leaving White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to volley questions from Democratic colleagues and the media. Pence is meticulous about where he steps on a lawn full of droppings, and the suggestion has been made that his actions are fully premeditated. Having his eye planted firmly on the throne, he understands he must avoid getting dirty.
The Atlantic reported last month in an article called “God’s Plan For Mike Pence” that Pence’s wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, finds Donald Trump’s behavior “Vile.” Indeed, she would given that she and her husband are deeply convicted to their Christian religion. That alone made the Trump/Pence coupling extremely odd, especially considering Trump’s reckless attacks on women and his vulgar, brash behavior. Meanwhile, Pence is a polished politician, whose voting history and on-the-record comments as Governor of Indiana reveals someone with unwavering faith- to a disturbing degree.
Pence has voted against marriage equality. He voted to to uphold the archaic military policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. When asked about his stance on gay rights, Trump intercepted the inquiry to say, “Don’t ask that guy, he wants to hang them all.” He has voted against a women’s right to sovereignty over their own body. He has neglected the needs of people of color in Indiana, contributing to a political system that imprisons more black men than it provides access to school. He condemned anti-racism efforts- even walked out of an NFL game where the players knelt peacefully to protest inequality and police brutality afflicting the black community. Pence has never spoken out against the alt-right activists that have violently attacked minorities, but sat back while Trump defended the self-described white supremacists as “Some very fine people.” Pence is known to keep the company of White Nationalists.
Pence has a very specific definition of America and who it belongs to. In Pence’s vision, the only citizens deserving of opportunity, justice and equality are white, male, straight, cisgender and christian. His history of actions and remarks provide irrefutable evidence that he believes anyone who slips outside these boundaries are second class citizens.
Much of what drives Pence is his radical religious extremism. Although Pence keeps a very low profile, we do know that he has weaponized his religion to harm people who do not share his world views. As governor he signed the Freedom Of Religion Bill which began by allowing radicals like himself to discriminate against LGBT people without consequence. As a result, he received intense push-back from democrats and progressives alike and he was forced to implement amendments that included LGBT residents of the state. Unhappy with having to compromise his belief system as Governor, once he became Vice President, he counseled Trump on the founding of the new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, which achieves what he failed to do as governor- sanction abuse and discrimination against LGBT Americans by any individual who wishes to deny them service or treatment based on religious or moral objection. The department allows medical professionals to deny care to LGBT identifying people with no consequence, even if they die as a result of their neglect.
According to new reports, Pence was also the one who drafted the new ban that disqualifies Transgender identifying individuals from enlisting in the military. Not a surprise considering ex-White House Aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, who, like so many others before and after, was fired by John Kelly for misusing the White House car service claimed that working in Trump’s administration as a the only Black woman on staff was both isolating and disturbing. She stated that she could not reconcile the gross mishandling of racial issues by the Trump administration and stay silent. In fact, as the only Black Republican who had access to Trump and Pence, many people of color saw her as a traitor who refused to represent their interests and instead sold them out. After her dismissal, she came forward stating that she was prevented from discussing the topics that were relevant with the president because other staffers deliberately kept her away.
Soon after leaving the white house, she returned to her roots on reality television with CBS’s Big Brother where to spoke about the possibility of Pence moving into the Oval Office;
“Can I just say this? As bad as y’all think Trump is, you should be worried about Pence. We would be begging for days of Trump back if Pence became president.” — Omarosa Manigault Newman
Omarosa made claims about a sort of White hierarchy in the administration where diversity did not exist in its upper ranks. The White House could not prove her wrong. Communications director Sarah Sanders found no evidence to the contrary when, during a press conference, she was grilled about the accusation. It seems The White House is now a literal representation of the inhabitants.
We cannot fault any man or woman for their personal faith. After all, in America, we have the freedom to choose which system of belief to follow, if any at all. It becomes problematic when a radical Christian, like Pence, from his position begins implementing laws, bans and limitations on innocent Americans because he believes he is serving his God’s purpose. Last I checked, we still had a separation of Church and State, albeit weakly enforced and slowly dying.
Omarosa continued to provide insight on life with Pence in the White House; “He’s extreme. I’m Christian. I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things.” When the topic turned to immigration, things even got more terrifying;
“I’ve seen the plans- the round-up plan is getting more and more aggressive. The crackdowns are happening and they’re aggressive. They’re intentional and they’re going to get worse.” — Omarosa Manigault Newman
Pence never responds to the accusations of racism, elitism, misogyny, bigotry or his radicalism. Instead, we have to unearth the dark reality of Pence’s nature from inside sources, past comments and his voting record. He allows his actions to speak for themselves and will not risk further qualifying his tumultuous past by addressing it. It could put thorns in his path to the presidency.
And he believes, as do many others in the administration, that he will assume the Presidency. Despite Donald Trump appearing to be made of teflon, it’s starting to wear thin. As the scandals and controversies, arrests and indictments pile up around Donald Trump, Pence is patiently lying in wait, biding his time, watching as Trump digs himself a hole that he’ll never climb out of.
Today the Republicans are starting to discuss Donald Trump’s impeachment. It begs the question; Has this been the Pence plan from the beginning? While he has been responsible for ghostwriting some of the most discriminatory, hate-motivated legislation in decades that have been attributed to Trump, that seems to have been intentional. Pence and co. have been content in allowing Trump to take the flack, because he’s not intelligent enough to understand he’s being puppeteered. He’s like an obnoxious little kid begging to play a video game, so his elders unplug the remote and let him think he’s playing while they discreetly maintain control. There’s no way Trump could independently come up with all of the damaging, religious rhetoric from a golf course. In 2018, he has taken more than 15 vacations.
Pence, however, has stayed at the White House, drafting up the future of America under his Presidency.