Tag Archives: Mike Pence

VP ignores hypocrisy in his commencement speech

Vice President Mike Pence told graduating students at Liberty University this weekend that they will be “shunned” and “ridiculed” because of their Christian faith.

He said his wife, Karen, has been subject to such bad behavior because she hooked up with an evangelical-based educational institution.

“Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs,” Pence told the Liberty U grads, calling himself “a brother in Christ.” “As you go about your daily life, be ready.”

For those who ridicule others merely because of their faith, yes, that is wrong, hateful, hurtful and not in keeping with any great religious faith of which I am aware.

However, the VP might be missing a critical element in the criticism that comes toward those who proclaim their Christian faith. It is the hypocrisy associated with Christian leaders who talk a good game about faith, but who continue to stand with a president whose own life and his brief career in public service have been testaments to practically everything counter to what Jesus teaches the world.

I would put the vice president in that category.

I don’t doubt Pence’s faith. I have serious doubt about Donald Trump’s proclamations of faith. I cannot wrap my noggin around the idea that just because the president says he’s a believer that he actually is one.

His entire life prior to becoming a politician has been focused exclusively on one element: enriching himself. Yet there is the vice president standing with him as he panders openly to evangelicals who comprise the political base that keeps buttressing his support.

Scripture instructs us to be truthful. Has the president followed the commandment that we “must not testify falsely against your neighbor”?

It’s the hypocrisy, Mr. Vice President, that puts evangelicals too often in a position to be “shunned” and “ridiculed,” even if they aren’t deserving of either.

‘Trump 2020’? Where is VP Pence’s presence?

SLIDELL, La. — Just over yonder at the recreational vehicle park where my wife and I are parked for a few nights is an RV with a tall flagpole. It flies Old Glory and a Donald Trump campaign flag.

The Trump flag says: “Trump 2020 . . . Keep America Great.”

I am struck by something missing from the banner: the name of Vice President Mike Pence. I’ll stipulate that I’ve seen political banners containing both men’s names. So perhaps this Trump 2020 banner is no big deal.

Then again . . .

I’m scratching my head. I won’t ask the owner of the RV about it; he likely doesn’t know a thing about any possible back story. I do remember a moment about a year ago when Trump asked Pence if he would run with him for re-election. Pence said “yes.” Trump applauded in front of the boisterous crowd. All seemed happy in Trump World.

But . . . is it?

I’ve noted that the president and the vice president aren’t eating lunch these days privately, per their custom. Trump jettisoned the personal lunches with the No. 2 man in the government’s executive branch. Atlantic magazine reports that Trump reportedly has chided Pence privately about the VP’s endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz prior to the2016 Indiana Republican presidential primary. Trump won that primary and he reportedly has lorded that over the VP.

I must wonder whether the president is so indebted to Pence that he would keep him on the GOP presidential ticket in 2020. I also am wondering if Pence’s devotion to the president registers with Trump. Does he care that the VPOTUS has stood foursquare with him?

Trump demands loyalty among subordinates. He looks for all the world to me like someone who feels no need to reciprocate.

Thus, I am wondering whether the “Trump 2020” flag portends a big announcement.

Trump throws lunches with Pence aside

This shouldn’t be a big story, but it kind of is a big one.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence aren’t eating lunch together these days. The president has decided to ditch his “intimate” lunches with the vice president. He is sending aides to break bread with the VP.

What does this portend? It’s anyone’s guess, given the mercurial, unpredictable, whim-whipped decision-making that drives the president.

I am left to wonder: Is the president so angry with the VP that he’s going to toss him over when he runs for re-election in 2020?

The report of Trump and Pence no longer breaking bread comes from The Atlantic, which reports that Trump was miffed that Pence endorsed U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz prior to the Indiana Republican presidential primary in 2016. The Atlantic also reports that Trump chided Pence in 2017 about the endorsement Trump received from former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight. “I won the primary and now look where you are, Mike,” Trump supposedly told the VP.

Well, so much for the fealty that Pence has exhibited while standing by his man, the president.

I don’t know yet where this will go. Nor do I know whether it portends yet another big political shakeup within the Trump administration. Trump has demonstrated quite a propensity for shaking things up. He has tossed aside the Homeland Security chain of command. Trump has yet to name permanent replacements at several key Cabinet and senior advisory posts.

Now it’s the vice president — the next in line for the Big Chair — who might be tossed aside for someone else?

If we play that scenario out, I am baffled as to how Donald Trump could have found a more loyal foot soldier than Mike Pence. He demands loyalty. In Pence, he has gotten what he has demanded . . . and then some!

These private POTUS-VPOTUS lunches have become a staple of many previous administrations. President Obama and Vice President Biden met regularly; so did President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Yes, others at the top of the chain of command have met regularly.

To my admittedly distant vantage point, I just haven’t picked up on the body language exhibited by many previous presidents and vice presidents. Let’s face it: Pence is the straightest arrow in the quiver; Trump is, well, let’s just say he has behaved badly for damn near his entire adult life.

I guess that is why news of the end of the Trump-Pence lunches is a big deal. It might become a huge deal.

Pence vs. Mayor Pete: It’s getting personal

Here we go . . .

The presidential candidacy of an openly gay Midwest medium-sized city mayor is starting to get ugly.

Pete Buttigieg is among the seemingly dozens of Democrats running for president. He has drawn the attention of a fellow Hoosier, Vice President Mike Pence.

Buttigieg has responded to statements that Pence allegedly has made about the mayor’s sexual “preference” by suggesting that the VP’s quarrel shouldn’t be with Buttigieg, but with his “creator.”

I am undecided about who among the Democrats I want to succeed Donald Trump. Buttigieg, though, has gotten my attention of late. He is an interesting young man with a wealth of life experience that needs to be examined.

Feud escalates

I want to point out that he is a Navy veteran. He served honorably while deployed to war zones in the Middle East.

He came out as gay only in 2015. Pence, who was Indiana governor at the time, said that Buttigieg — the mayor of South Bend, Ind. — is a “dedicated public servant and a patriot.”

Now, though, he has taken another view of Buttigieg, I guess.

Buttigieg is emerging from the field of Democrats as a potential contender for the party’s nomination. My hunch is that the vice president won’t be quite so magnanimous when discussing Mayor Pete in the future.

For his part, Buttigieg is pushing back hard on evangelicals’ support of Trump, someone who Buttigieg believes is the very antithesis of the kind of individual who should appeal to strong Christian believers. He says the “hypocrisy is unbelievable,” and adds that Trump’s behavior “is not consistent with anything I hear in scripture in church.”

I once commented on this blog that my preference would be for Democrats to look hard at someone who came out of nowhere, perhaps in the mold of Jimmy Carter. It might be that Pete Buttigieg is that individual.

Time will tell.

Hey, what about Pence and that religion matter?

Pete Buttigieg is running for president of the United States. Yep, he’s one of the hundreds of Democrats seeking to defeat Donald Trump in 2020.

Who is this young man? He’s the mayor of South Bend, Ind.; he calls himself a progressive; he’s openly gay.

He also wants to know a thing or two about Vice President Mike Pence, a fellow Hoosier who once was governor of Indiana.

Buttigieg acknowledges the vice president’s devout Christian beliefs and wonders how the VP can serve with what he calls a “porn star president.”

You know, that’s a good question. It’s one that I’ve rolled around in my noggin ever since Pence agreed to be Trump’s running mate in 2016.

The two of them comprise one of the more unlikely political tandems in recent history. I don’t doubt Pence’s religious sincerity. He has a policy of avoiding being in the same room with women other than his wife, Karen, without at least one other person present. He is the straightest arrow in the quiver.

Yet he serves with a president who, shall we say, is damn near the polar opposite. Oh, sure, Trump panders to the evangelical movement, but really . . .

Does he walk the walk of a man of deep faith? C’mon. Let’s be real. You’ve seen and heard how he comports himself in public. You’ve heard the language he uses. You all know about his acknowledged infidelity with two of his three wives; and, yes, we have credible allegations of the same conduct involving wife No. 3, the first lady of the United States.

Buttigieg wondered recently, according to CNN: “How would he allow himself to become the cheerleader for the porn star presidency? Is it that he stopped believing in scripture when he started believing Donald Trump?” Buttigieg said. “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

I’ll repeat: I don’t doubt Pence’s devotion to his faith.

However, it is fair to ask out loud about the vice president: How do you square your straitlaced reputation with that of a man who demonstrates constantly the amorality of someone with zero spiritual grounding?

Therein might lie a flashpoint as this 2020 campaign season reaches warp speed.

VPOTUS is getting roasted … for loyalty to POTUS?

I am going to shock, maybe stun, critics of this blog — and perhaps supporters of it — by offering a word in defense of Vice President Mike Pence.

He is getting roasted, skewered, sliced and diced because he expresses admittedly blind loyalty to Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States.

I am baffled a bit by the criticism. It’s as if his praise of the president has caught critics by surprise, that he shouldn’t be saying all those nice things about the guy who selected him to run on the Republican Party presidential ticket in 2016.

Let me stipulate, as if I need to do so: I detest the idea of Donald Trump serving as president. I cringe, too, when I hear Mike Pence speak so sickeningly about the president’s so-called accomplishments. I want Donald Trump removed from the office at the earliest possible opportunity. I also want Pence to hit the road right along with Trump.

Trump’s amorality is stunning in its scope. I am puzzled as well that Pence, a deeply religious man, even would have agreed to run alongside the slug who won the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

But he did agree to run as VP. The two of them won the election. Pence serves at the pleasure of the president. I am going to presume, therefore, that he likes being vice president and that he finds plenty to do to keep himself occupied during the day.

So I am left to ask: What do the Trump-Pence critics expect the vice president to do or say about the president? When has any vice president been openly contemptuous of the head of state, head of government and the commander in chief?

Perhaps the VP could dial back the tone and tenor of the praise he slathers all over the president. Do you remember how former Defense Secretary James Mattis praised the men and women who served under him, but didn’t offer a single word of praise for POTUS as he was announcing his resignation from the Pentagon?

Is that what Trump critics want from the vice president?

Let’s get real. It ain’t going to happen. The vice president took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, just as the president did. However, there is no way on Earth that the U.S. government’s No. 2 man is going to turn his fire on No. 1.

VP Pence greeted with . . . silence

I have watched the video several times; it doesn’t get any easier to watch the more I see it.

Vice President Mike Pence stood before the Munich Security Conference in Germany and sought to bring greetings from the 45th president of the United States.

He thanked U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for leading the U.S. delegation to Munich. He got a nice round of applause.

Then the vice president offered greetings from Donald J. Trump.

Silence. Stone-cold silence! The crowd didn’t react.

The VP stood there, looking as though he had just told a tawdry joke at a Sunday school class.

Is this the payoff for “putting America first”? Is this how you make America great again? 

Sad.

‘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.