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Mike Pence isn't making sense
He would support Donald Trump?
Mike Pence made headlines on Wednesday by going right at Donald Trump — on Constitutional grounds.
There was this:
The American people deserve to know on that fateful day, President Trump also demanded I choose between him and our Constitution. Now voters will be faced with the same choice. I chose the Constitution, and I always will.
I believe that anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States, and anyone who asks someone else to put them over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again.
Pretty strong stuff!
Pence is saying in no uncertain terms that Trump asked him to ignore the country’s founding document in order to serve a set of selfish goals. It’s a massive accusation — and once born out by what we now know what happened on January 6, 2021 (and in the days leading up to it).
Maybe this is finally the break Republicans have been waiting for? The I’m-mad-as-hell-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore moment that has been years in the making?
Pence was asked in a Fox News interview later in the day whether he would support the eventual Republican nominee for president. He said he would.
After all, there’s no question that Trump is the odds-on favorite to be the Republican presidential nominee. He has a wide polling lead and the unwavering support of somewhere between 35%-40% of the Republican electorate.
So, what Pence appears to be saying is that:
Trump sought to actively undermine the Constitution for his own personal gain — and no one who does that can be president
He will still support Trump if the former president is the party’s nominee in 2024.
Whoa boy! Party loyalty over all!
Now, Pence is trying to have it both ways here. Witness this exchange on CNN last night about the prospect of Trump as the Republican nominee:
CNN: How can you say that you would support [Trump] if he's the nominee?
PENCE: Well, because I don't think Donald Trump's going to be the nominee.
CNN: Well, what if he is?
PENCE: I don't think he's going to be the nominee.
To which I would add: YEAH BUT WHAT IF HE IS?
(Pence also said in that interview that he didn’t think Trump should be indicted in the classified documents case because it would “send a terrible message to the wider world.” But, um, what if he broke the law? Just saying.)
Wish-casting that Trump won’t be the nominee isn’t going to keep him from the nomination.
The most friendly read on all of this for Pence is that the former VP knows he needs to be on the debate stage to have ANY chance in the race, and the Republican National Committee has already said that to appear on the stage you have to sign an agreement that you will support the nominee.
So Pence is playing ball on that front — even while hoping like hell (he would probably say “heck”) that Trump isn’t the nominee.
But, but, but…the chances of Trump signing that document are basically zero. Trump has already said that his support “would have to depend on who the nominee was,” which you should understand as if the nominee isn’t him, he isn’t supporting the eventual nominee.
And remember that in 2016 (after much back and forth) Trump signed the pledge to support the eventual nominee — only to abandon it a few months later.
"No, I don't anymore," Trump said of his past support for the pledge. "No, we'll see who it is."
What’s happening right now reminds me so much of what happened in 2016: Donald Trump playing by one set of rules (his own) while the rest of the Republican field is still playing by an old set of rules (that don’t really exist anymore).
Consider, again, what Pence is saying — when you strip away all of his wishes and hopes about who the Republican nominee will be: He is willing to support someone who tried to force him to ignore the Constitution and overturn the results of a free and fair national election!
And as if that’s not bad enough, there’s a zero percent chance that if the shoe was on the other foot —- Pence as the nominee — that Trump would EVER support him.
It’s a stunning misread of the moment in which we find ourselves. Trump doesn’t respect any boundaries or controls on what he can do and when he can do it. He will say and do, literally, anything and everything, to win.
He is, already, screaming about election interference in the 2024 election — laying the groundwork to never concede if he loses either in the primary or the general election.
And yet, the likes of Pence continue to treat him as basically just another candidate — someone who will follow the rules and play nice. And someone who doesn’t pose an active threat to democracy.
Except we KNOW that’s not true. Trump actively sought to overturn the 2020 election and then fomented a riot at the U.S. Capitol when he didn’t get his way! And no one knows that better than Pence. The crowd that day was chanting: “HANG MIKE PENCE” Like, what more evidence do you need that Trump poses an asymmetric threat to the country???
It’s a testament to the fact that the Republican party is still fooling itself over Trump that Pence could say in one breath that the former president tried to put himself over the Constitution and, in the next, that he will support the eventual presidential nominee.
There have to be things more important than party loyalty. Mike Pence seems to not get that.
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