Tag Archives: Mike Pence

‘It would make me look foolish’

A statement attributed to Donald Trump screams loudly to us at a couple of levels.

The president said that accepting a deal to reopen the entire federal government from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer would “make me look foolish.”

I’ll set aside the snickering that developed at the idea that the president long ago began looking “foolish” by uttering the things he says and doing the things he does.

The idea of negotiating a deal with House and Senate Democrats is not a “foolish” gesture. Brokering such a deal would be the result of compromise, which is an essential element of good, smart and effective governance.

As I heard Speaker Pelosi today when she took the gavel from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, I thought I heard her say she planned to return a Republican-sponsored and endorsed measure to the Senate; she intends to force senators to vote on a measure they already have approved and which the president pledged initially to sign into law.

You know what happened. When the president made that pledge, which included agreeing to sign a bill that didn’t provide money for The Wall, right-wing talkers went nuts. They accused him of betraying the GOP base. Hearing that, Trump back-pedaled. He reversed himself. He stuck a shiv in the back of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom said the president would support the spending bill that passed the Senate by a virtually unanimous vote.

Foolish? Does that make Donald Trump look foolish? Yeah. It does.

The bigger issue is whether he’s willing to wheel and deal with Democrats.

Pelosi said she wants senators to re-endorse the measure they already have backed. The pressure now is on them and on the president.

Negotiation is part of legislating. It’s part of governing. It is the essence of how you move the country forward. Refusing to consider a compromise is the prescription for looking “foolish.”

Pence’s stony silence most disturbing image

Look at the picture. The person to Donald Trump’s right is none other than the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence.

Of all the chatter we’ve heard about that meeting, the one image that continues to stick in my craw is of Pence sitting there, silent, not saying a single word. Meanwhile, the president argues with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer about the federal budget and financing construction of The Wall on our southern border.

The image of Pence sitting there mute reminds me of what President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden said of their relationship during their eight years in power.

Obama has made it abundantly clear, and Biden has affirmed it, that Biden was the last person to leave any room where the two men were present. Biden would argue with Obama, telling him — sometimes with great emphasis — where he believed the president was wrong. The president would fire back. The two men would go at it tooth and nail.

But through it all, as the former president has recounted their service together, they forged a lasting friendship and partnership.

Do you think the current vice president and the current president have anything approaching that kind of relationship, let alone any semblance of a friendship? Of course not!

Trump comes from a world where he was The Boss. He made decisions. Those who worked for him did what they were told to do. If they didn’t, they were out. Indeed, we’ve seen evidence of that background even as he has morphed into what passes for the chief executive of the federal government.

Thus, when Trump, Pelosi and Schumer were haranguing each other in the Oval Office, one couldn’t possibly expect VP Pence to chime in with his own view. I mean, after all, he’s only the No. 2 man in the executive branch of government. He was elected right along with Donald Trump to lead the nation. Isn’t that right?

Doesn’t that by itself give him any “cred” to say what he believes, to tell the president anything at all that might contradict whatever passes for the president’s world view?

One would think. Except that we are talking about Donald Trump, who is unfit for the office he holds. He wanted an obsequious lap dog to serve as VP and, by golly, he got one.

You go, Mme. Speaker . . . to-be

Nancy Pelosi has delivered a message to Donald Trump.

It is that the president of the United States is going to face a formidable adversary when the next Congress convenes in January 2019. The presumptive speaker of the House delivered that message in a face-to-face smackdown with the president in an Oval Office meeting the two of them had with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Oh, Vice President Mike Pence was in the room, too, but he had a “non-speaking” role in this idiotic and awkward exchange.

Pelosi, a California Democrat, informed Trump he doesn’t have the votes in the House to finance the “big beautiful wall” along our southern border. Trump sought to tell her that he does; she responded — immediately — no, Mr. President . . . you do not!

Pelosi is an expert at vote-counting, which was one of the hallmarks of her first stint as speaker from 2009 to 2011.

Trump, meanwhile, doesn’t know how the legislative process works. He has no background in congressional relationships. He doesn’t understand the importance of seeking to cooperate with the legislative branch of government.

The president’s modus operandi is to dictate his desires and then expect everyone to follow him over the cliff.

The new speaker isn’t wired that way. She’s tough and she is asserting herself as she should.

Let us remember something else: The U.S. Constitution stipulates that the speaker of the House is No. 3 in succession to the presidency. It’s good to remember that as we enter the new year — and a new era — in Washington, D.C.

‘Potted Plant’ VPOTUS takes it all in

This is a picture of Donald Trump arguing with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office. The fourth person in the picture is the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence.

The president argued with the Senate minority leader and the woman who will become the next speaker of the House about budget matters and whether Congress will spend the money Trump wants it to spend to build a wall along our nation’s southern border.

What’s stunning is Pence’s stone-cold silence during all of this. He didn’t way a word as Trump argued with Schumer and Pelosi. The argument grew testy. It damn near veered out of control.

I have considered the VP to be among the few grownups within the Trump administration. Until now.

His craven fealty to the president appears to be on full display in the video that many of us have seen. I am trying to imagine how, oh, Joe Biden, or Dick Cheney, or Al Gore would have handled that awkward exchange.

Would they have weighed in to try to settle everyone down? I tend to believe they would have done more than Mike Pence did . . . which was to sit there like a potted plant.

Do you think the VP had a man-to-man visit with the Big Man after the argument ended? I . . . don’t think so either.

Trump-Pence 2020 in possible doubt?

It’s not unheard of, but in recent years it’s a rare occurrence when a president of the United States jettisons a vice president and runs with a new running mate while seeking re-election.

Newsweek magazine is reporting that Donald Trump’s key advisers are floating the notion of replacing Vice President Mike Pence with U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley.

Why? Because the vice president was highly critical of that hideous “Access Hollywood” tape in which the future president disclosed how he could grab women by their genitals. Pence, a devout Christian, reportedly was incensed over what he heard … and Trump hasn’t forgiven Pence for the apparent “disloyalty,” according to Newsweek.

I am not going to dictate what I think Trump should do. That’s his call. Frankly, the vice president’s future is of little interest to me, other than whether he would ascend to the presidency if — dare I suggest it — that Trump doesn’t finish his term.

The most recent president to switch VPs was Gerald R. Ford, who kicked Vice President Nelson Rockefeller — who was appointed to the office — to the curb. President Ford selected Sen. Bob Dole as his 1976 running mate. The president lost his bid for election to the office to which he was appointed to Jimmy Carter.

Newsweek reportsThe president could be considering new strategies for his next campaign after Republicans were dealt major blows in last week’s midterm elections. Democrats picked up at least 36 seats to retake the House and prevented Republicans from further bolstering their lead in the Senate. This was an election Trump had turned into a referendum on his first two years in office.

Indeed, as I watched the returns roll in, it appears to many of us that Trump lost that “referendum” … bigly, if you know what I mean.

Does he toss the vice president overboard in some sort of hail-Mary effort to save his presidency? Not a damn thing would surprise me.

‘Lodestar’ emerges as an entrapment tool

Vice President Mike Pence likes to use the word “lodestar,” an archaic word not usually associated with 21st-century normal word usage.

So, when the word “lodestar” showed up in that New York Times op-ed essay written by some mystery man or woman, many observers stated their belief that the VP had to be the author of the piece.

Pence denies writing it. And that begs the question: Was the vice president set up by someone else?

Pence told Fox News’s Chris Wallace he didn’t know if that’s the case. Well, I’ll offer a wild guess: Yes, someone tried to implicate Pence with the use of the term “lodestar,” which defines how you navigate a ship.

The NYT essay is full of assertions that have sent Donald Trump into a fit of apoplexy and outright rage. It says a “resistance” team is working to prevent Trump from acting on his more frightening instincts.

Would the team include Pence? I suppose it could, given the VP’s own history as a member of Congress and a governor of Indiana. He has legitimate government experience, something that Trump lacked the moment he declared his presidential candidacy.

But … the vice president is trying to clear himself of any responsibility regarding this anonymous essay. Good luck with that, Mr. VPOTUS.

If he doesn’t know who set him up with the “lodestar” reference, I kind of believe Vice President Pence needs to get busy looking for whoever is responsible.

B’bye, Sheriff Joe, and don’t let the door hit you

Now, maybe — one can hope — Joe Arpaio will disappear from the public stage.

The man known colloquially as Sheriff Joe lost his Arizona Republican primary bid this week to win election to the U.S. Senate. Thank goodness for that!

He finished third in a three-candidate field seeking to succeed retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, a conservative Republican and a man with principles and guts.

Arpaio wasn’t your run-of-the-mill losing candidate. He once was sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. He also got into trouble with the federal judiciary by ignoring a court order to cease profiling Hispanics who he suspected of being in this country illegally.

For his defiance, he was convicted of a federal offense. But then Donald J. Trump — Arpaio’s newfound political “hero” — pardoned him before he was sentenced for the crime he committed.

And to think that Vice President Mike Pence went to Arizona to campaign for Arpaio, calling him a man who stood “for the rule of law.” Hell, he stood for nothing of the sort! He stood for defying the federal judiciary and, therefore, for breaking the law.

The New York Times called Arpaio a “sadistic” man. That’s good enough for me.

Hit the road, Sheriff Joe. And stay out of sight.

Pence is facing a dilemma

They’re going to salute and commemorate the life and public service of the late Sen. John McCain in a few days.

One of those attending is likely to be Vice President Mike Pence, who will represent (a) the Senate where he is the presiding officer and (b) the Donald Trump administration led by a man Sen. McCain said he doesn’t want to attend his funeral.

What in the world is Pence going to tell reporters who are likely to ask him to speak for the president? How might he frame his public remarks if he is asked to speak from the pulpit at the National Cathedral?

The vice president is an honorable man. He and Sen. McCain served together in Congress and by many accounts were friends to the end of McCain’s life. The senator, though, had vastly different views about the president.

Does the VP speak from his heart about McCain on behalf of the president and come off as phony? Or does he offer the bare minimum — kind of like the way Trump offered his “respect” for McCain’s decades of public service and his heroism as a Vietnam War prisoner? If he does the latter, he would come off as sounding cheap and tepid.

Thus, we have the president putting the vice president in a terrible bind by fostering the toxic relationship he had with one of the U.S. Senate’s true giants.

Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will deliver eulogies in Sen. McCain’s honor. I have no worries about those men speaking from their hearts and offering the kind of respectful and heartfelt rhetoric about their former colleague and foe.

I do worry about Vice President Pence. I hope — and in my heart I believe — he’ll find a way to tap-dance around a delicate subject.

White House makes a mess of standard tribute

Let’s call it what it appears to be: a major-league clusterf***.

Someone at the White House — where Donald J. Trump resides with his wife and young son — lowered the flag atop the building to half-staff immediately after U.S. Sen. John McCain’s death this past weekend.

Then the flag went back to the top of the staff.

And then it came down again today. The president issued a “thoughts and prayers” statement to Sen. McCain’s family initially, and then issued a statement saying that despite the two men’s differences over “politics and policy,” the president said “I respect his service” to the country.

Gosh. Overwhelming, yes? Well … no. It isn’t. But you know that already.

Read CNN.com’s report here.

Actually, the president has yet to make any kind of statement saluting the late senator’s enormous contributions to his nation, his 60 years of public service — including his more than five years as a Vietnam War prisoner as a captive of North Vietnam. Trump denigrated McCain’s war service and the heroism he displayed while being held captive. And as McCain fought the cancer that killed him, Trump continued to blast the senator over his “no” vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Of course, McCain issued a directive that the president shouldn’t attend his funeral. Instead, the senator asked former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to deliver eulogies in his honor. And, yes, Vice President Mike Pence — a former congressional colleague of Sen. McCain — will represent the Trump administration.

Dear reader, we are witnessing yet again the clumsiness and ineptitude of the Donald J. Trump administration over a ceremonial duty that should be second nature.

Shameful.

Pence’s values might come back to, um, haunt him

Vice President Mike Pence is considered generally to be a goodie-two-shoes. He’s a straight arrow, a man of impeccable moral rectitude.

He once wrote in the 1990s that presidents of the United States who are unfaithful to their spouses and lie to Americans should be removed from office post haste.

Interesting, eh? You bet it is!

Because now the vice president works in an administration led by serial philanderer and a pathological liar.

CNN reports: Pence made the argument in two columns in the late 1990s, where he wrote that then-President Bill Clinton’s admission of an affair with a White House intern and prior lies to the public about the matter, possibly under oath, meant Clinton should be removed from office.

There’s more from CNN: Dismissing the idea that the president is “just the like the rest of us,” Pence wrote, “If you and I fall into bad moral habits, we can harm our families, our employers and our friends. The President of the United States can incinerate the planet. Seriously, the very idea that we ought to have at or less than the same moral demands placed on the Chief Executive that we place on our next door neighbor is ludicrous and dangerous.

“Throughout our history, we have seen the presidency as the repository of all of our highest hopes and ideals and values. To demand less is to do an injustice to the blood that bought our freedoms.”
To my way of thinking, Donald Trump has devalued the presidency to levels I have not seen in all my years watching the office and the men who have occupied it.
What say you, Mr. Vice President, about the man in charge?