By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
The ghastly insurrection the world witnessed this past week has torn open many sores, revealed many flashpoints about our government.
One of them involves the relationship between the president and vice president. It is now on full display and that pairing becomes even more critical as we move in just eight days from one administration to the next one.
Donald Trump exhorted the mob to march on the Capitol Building, where at that very moment Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over a congressional session to ratify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Spoiler alert: Trump lost that one; President-elect Joe Biden won bigly.
Trump tried for days to browbeat Pence into doing something he had no power to do, to ignore the Electoral College results and declare that Trump won. Pence told Trump he had to follow the Constitution. That didn’t set well with Trump. He reportedly was furious with the VP.
The mob stormed into the Capitol Building. It occupied the speaker’s office, ransacked several other offices, stole computers … and sent the congressional session scurrying for cover. That included Pence. Oh, and rioters also were yelling “Hang Mike Pence!” while they were bludgeoning overwhelmed police officers with flag poles flying Old Glory.
It took Trump six days to even talk to the vice president after the attack. Did I mention that the rioters were intent on harming or killing the vice president?
I believe I can say this with confidence, but Trump never valued the experience that Mike Pence brought to the administration. Trump chose Pence because Pence is a darling of the evangelical Christian movement, which Trump manipulated during his term in office. Pence was a Trump toadie to the core, standing up for Trump even as the president embarrassed and shamed the presidency and even as he told lie after lie to the public.
They will be gone soon. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will bring an entirely new and presumably more constructive relationship to the executive branch of government.
Try to imagine President Biden turning his back on Vice President Harris were she put into the spot Pence found himself during the insurrection. It would never happen.
For that matter, Biden’s role as VP during the Barack Obama administration wrote a new chapter in that relationship that should become the standard for future administrations to follow. President Obama routinely refers to himself and his family as “honorary Bidens” and describes the new president as his “brother.”
Yes, this relationship is critical to the max. We are witnessing in real time just how dysfunction can ruin such a pairing and the potential it has for ruining the conduct of our government.