Tag Archives: Mike Pence

Democrats need to develop their beat-Trump formula

First, I want to state the obvious, which is that I want Donald Trump removed from the presidency of the United States.

My first choice would be for him to resign, and to take Mike Pence with him into the political wilderness. My second choice would be for the House of Reps to impeach them both and then for the Senate to convict them both of high crimes and assorted misdemeanors.

My third choice, and the one that makes the most sense, is for the Trump-Pence ticket to get drummed out of office on Election Day, 2020.

Will that third option come true? Not based on what many millions of us have witnessed in the first two rounds of Democratic Party presidential primary debates.

I heard the term “circular firing squad” after the Wednesday night encounter. The Man in the Middle was the former vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the clear frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination … at least for the moment.

None of the candidates running for the nomination seem able to combat Donald Trump, the gut-fighter Republican incumbent who might be poised to insult his way to re-election.

Trump will not invoke a clear and grand vision for the future. He won’t offer a second-term agenda, because he doesn’t have one. He won’t appeal to our better angels by telling us the “best is yet to come.” He’s going to attach hideous nicknames on whomever the Democrats nominate for president and vice president and is going to toss out innuendo after ghastly innuendo at them.

What are Democrats doing to prepare for that? They’re beating the hell out of each other, notably former VP Biden. As for the ex-veep, he needs to find a formula to counter those attacks and to turn his sights directly — and with extreme focus and prejudice — on Donald Trump.

Is he capable of doing so? I do not know at this moment. Is there another in that huge field of Democrats ready to assume the frontrunner’s mantle and then take the fight directly to the carnival barker/con man in chief? Hah!

That’s the bad news. I have some good news to pass along.

We’re still very early in this nominating process. A lot can happen. It probably will. That huge field of candidates will start to thin out soon. Then we’ll get to the serious contenders and weed out more of the pretenders along the way.

However, at this moment I am not feeling good about what might be waiting for us down the road.

Mr. VPOTUS, spare us the platitudes about detainees

This brief comment is directed at you, Mr. Vice President.

I understand you took a tour today of a detention center in McAllen, Texas, where Border Patrol and Customs officials showed you the crowded conditions in which authorities have placed these migrants.

I am going to ask you, sir, to spare the nation any phony platitudes about how “well” the detainees are being treated. You said you “weren’t surprised” at the “tough stuff” you saw.

However, I am half-expecting you to issue statements denigrating the complaints that are coming from other detention centers, such as the one in Clint, near El Paso. Frankly, Mr. Vice President, I wish you had gone to that facility to see up close what all the protests have been about.

But you didn’t.

Mr. Vice President, there are too many reports of mistreatment of children in Clint. You cannot ignore what I know you are hearing. Oh, sure, the president is in full denial and given that you’re the No. 2 man, you must feel the need to parrot what the No. 1 man in the government is saying.

Except that it isn’t true, Mr. Vice President. Yes, you got a taste of what these people are enduring.

For you to downplay, if not outright deny the mistreatment of migrants — especially the children — makes you complicit in the lies that Donald Trump keeps blathering.

Shame on you both.

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.”