Tag Archives: Mike Pence

Where is Mike Pence?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A cogent question surfaced in our North Texas home this evening, which goes something like this …

If Mike Pence wants to be elected president of the United States, he will face questions about his management of the White House pandemic response team that Donald Trump formed in early 2020. Given that the rollout of the vaccines has been a disaster, and given the immense increase in death and illness from the coronavirus, where in the world is the vice president?

VP Pence has vanished, other than being in the news in the wake of that hideous riot that came dangerously close to sweeping him up in the melee that erupted on Capitol Hill. The pandemic, though, remains Crisis No. 1 in this country, inasmuch as Pence and Trump will be out of office in five days. The pandemic, however, will rage on and on and on.

Pence hasn’t been forced to answer a single question about what he is doing as head of the White House pandemic response team. Sure, the team no longer gives us “briefings” on its fight against the virus. Then again, it seems plausible to believe that Trump is keeping the VP under wraps, ordering him to keep his trap shut and away from reporters’ inquisitiveness.

If he runs for president in 2024, I am quite sure that reporters and others will ask him: What did you do to combat that killer pandemic and why did you keep such a low profile while the virus was killing 3,000-plus Americans every single day?

Hello? Mr. Vice President? Are you out there?

POTUS-VPOTUS pairing more critical than ever

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

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.

VP ‘boasts’ worst job in D.C.

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A lot of jobs in Washington, D.C., during the Trump administration can qualify as the worst of the bunch. I want to offer my latest suggestion: vice president of the United States.

VP Mike Pence suffered perhaps the most frightening experience of his political life this past Wednesday when he scurried for cover in the face of the riotous mob that stormed the Senate, which was in the midst of ratifying Joe Biden’s election as president.

Pence was huddled with congressional leaders while the cops cleared the chamber and the entire Capitol Building of the insurrectionists who sought to overthrow the government.

Some of them yelled “Hang Mike Pence!” 

How long did it take for Donald Trump to call the VP? To talk to him? To, perhaps, ask him if he was OK? Oh, let’s see. The two of them spoke finally on Monday. Five days after the act of sedition.

Let’s remember, too, how Trump hectored Pence prior to the ratification, suggesting publicly that the VP had the power to overrule the votes of states, that he could just declare Trump to be elected. Pence had to remind Trump, uh, no Mr. President, I cannot do that. The Constitution doesn’t allow it, which reportedly pissed Trump off royally.

So, with that, Vice President Pence has been delivered a real-time reminder that Donald Trump’s loyalty goes only in one direction, which is that those who report to him must demonstrate it. Trump does not believe in reciprocity … you know?

Congressional leaders are pressuring Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, enabling for the removal of a president because he is no longer able to carry out the duties of the office. Pence so far is balking, although there are reports that he hasn’t removed it from the list of options to take.

Still, despite all that, despite the hideous snub from the president, Pence remains loyal to Donald Trump. His office said after the two men met that the VP is intent on showing to the world that the United States has a functioning executive branch of government. Therein lies the outward display of loyalty.

Do you think that privately, deep down in his gut that Pence is seething? I would think so. I would hope so, given the conduct that Trump has demonstrated throughout his term as president.

Vice President Pence now finds himself in the vise-grip of political options, none of which is attractive.

The good news? Pence and Trump will be out of office in eight days.

Yea … the founders got it right!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We can thank the nation’s founders tonight for a federal judicial ruling that puts an end to a loony lawsuit filed by a loony member of Congress, Rep. Louie Gohmert, an East Texas Republican.

Gohmert wanted Vice President Mike Pence to preside over a joint session of Congress next week … and then take it upon himself to throw out the Electoral College certification that Joe Biden was elected president of the United States.

What did the founders get right? They created an independent federal judiciary! Tonight, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle tossed Gohmert’s lawsuit into the trash barrel.

I should say right here that Judge Kernodle, of Texas, is a Trump appointee. Yep, the man who would benefit directly from Gohmert’s idiocy selected this jurist, who then followed his oath of office directly and cleanly. As The Hill reported: The judge found that Gohmert suffered no legally recognizable injury.

All hail, judicial independence!

Insurrectionists abound!

DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Congress can provide many surprises.

One of them has surfaced in recent days. For instance, I did not know that the House of Representatives contained so many insurrectionists, people who are willing to contest a fundamental concept of the government they took an oath to defend and protect.

These are the idiots who have said they intend to contest the election of President-elect Joe Biden. They’ll get the chance to have their undemocratic voices heard next Wednesday when the House and Senate meet to ratify the results of the Electoral College certification of Biden and Kamala Harris’s victory over Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

At last count, 140 House members — all Republicans — say they intend to contest the results. They will join the Missouri moron in the Senate, Republican Josh Hawley, in contesting a result that on Nov. 3 produced a clear, decisive and legal victory by the Biden-Harris ticket over the Trump-Pence ticket. I am happy to report that my congressman, Republican Van Taylor of Plano, did not join the loony bin crowd; he remains loyal to the oath he took.

This, of course, is a disgraceful perversion of the democratic process. These dipsh**s continue to insist there was “widespread voter fraud.” There was none. The U.S. attorney general has said there was none. More than 50 courts across the land have ruled there was none. Donald Trump’s handpicked steward over the election process — whom Trump later fired for speaking the truth — said the election was the most “secure in U.S. history.”

Will that deter this cabal of kooks? No. They’re going to proceed with the clown show egged on by their guy, Trump.

I am somewhat heartened by the apparent refusal of Vice President Pence to play along with this idiocy. I say “somewhat” because Pence has remained silent for too damn long while Trump has continued his moronic claim of being “robbed” of a victory.

All of this sheer nonsense will end where it should. Congress will ratify the Electoral College result. VP Pence will gavel the results into the record and will declare that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been elected president and vice president.

And Trump and Pence more than likely will never speak to each other ever again. That’s fine with me … as long as they take their estrangement with them out the door and into oblivion.

Don’t commit treason, Mr. VPOTUS

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Allow me this brief leap of faith.

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Nut House, is filing suit to demand that Vice President Mike Pence toss out the electoral votes that Joe Biden won in the presidential election and cast them instead for Donald Trump.

I do not believe Gohmert’s lawsuit will see the light of day. Nor do I believe that even if it did that Pence would follow the advice that the East Texas lunatic is suggesting.

On Jan. 6, the combined U.S. House and Senate will meet to ratify the Electoral College vote that has determined that Biden is the president-elect of the United States.

Gohmert is actually making a treasonous proposal by filing the lawsuit. It is astonishing, reprehensible, despicable, disgraceful and patently dangerous for Congress to even consider doing what Gohmert is demanding of the lame-duck vice president, and yet Gohmert has some fellow nut-job colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle who are willing to join him in this final act of idiocy.

To think, moreover, that the good folks of Gohmert’s East Texas congressional district continue to stand behind this goofball. They keep re-electing him every two years. Go … figure.

I’ll say it once more to VP Pence: Just do your job as the presiding officer of the joint congressional session, Mr. Vice President, and make the inevitable declaration that Joe Biden is the new president and that Kamala Harris is the new vice president.

Let’s then get back to actual governance and political sanity.

Do your duty, Mr. VPOTUS

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Vice President Mike Pence has one more critical job awaiting him before he leaves office.

He is scheduled — but not required — to preside over a joint session of Congress which on Jan. 6 is going to receive the Electoral College certified tally of the presidential election. It will tally up the votes cast by the electors and then Pence, according to custom, will declare that Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris have been elected president and vice president of the United States of America.

What does the VP do?

That’s easy from my vantage point. He presides over the outcome and makes the declaration on behalf of Congress and the Electoral College.

He is likely, though, to wonder if that’s the correct choice. Of course it is! However, he is likely then to incur the wrath of the man Biden defeated, Donald J. Trump, who continues to bully fellow Republicans to continue resisting the obvious outcome of the election. Trump is seeking to cling to power.

He has lined up a number of GOP loony birds who have swallowed the swill he is serving, that he actually won. To their great credit, some Rs in Congress are urging Trump to give up the fight.

One prominent Republican happens to be Mike Pence, who on Jan. 6 had better do what he must do. If he cannot make the declaration we all intend to hear, he should stand down, step aside and let the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, make the call.

A small, but growing, part of me believes that VP Mike Pence will be AWOL when the moment arrives.

Guardians? Really?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This will take some time to register with me.

Vice President Mike Pence has announced that members of the newly created U.S. Space Force will be called “guardians.”

That’s right. They will be called guardians the way the Army refers to soldiers, the Navy has its sailors, the Air Force has airmen, the Marines have, um, Marines and the Coast Guard has Coast Guardsmen.

The Space Force deploys guardians to defend us against … what? Extraterrestrials such as Martians or the Man in the Moon?

As Politico reports: “It is my honor on behalf of the president of the United States to announce that henceforth the men and women of the United States Space Force will be known as guardians,” Pence told an audience at the White House.

Look, I wasn’t high on the formation of a Space Force anyway. The Air Force already has a Space Command and was doing a stellar job of protecting us from missiles launched by hostile nations, let alone invaders from deep space.

I’m waiting for the first president of the United States say during a speech how he or she will honor the service of our “soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and guardians.” 

Another political custom might face a stern test

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A lot of political eyes are set to turn toward someone who’s been stone-cold silent while Donald Trump has ranted about alleged “corruption” in the process that elected Joe Biden as president of the United States.

That someone is Vice President Mike Pence.

The Electoral College has voted to certify President-elect Biden’s election. Now we get to watch Congress ratify it on Jan. 6. There might be a Trumpster in the crowd of House members and senators who will object. The individual who could preside over it all is VP Pence. It’s been customary for the vice president to declare the election of the next president and vice president.

Donald Trump remains adamant that he — not Biden — won the election. What does the VP think? I am left to wonder whether Pence will follow Trump’s reprehensible behavior and refuse to show up.

I will harken back to 2001. We had just completed an election that ended up being decided in the Supreme Court, which voted 5 to 4 to end the counting of ballots in Florida. When the count ended, Texas Gov. George W. Bush led Vice President Al Gore by 537 votes, out of more than 5 million cast. Bush won Florida’s electoral votes, giving him 271 of them to be elected president. Was the then-VP angry? Uh, yeah. He was.

However, he conceded to the new president and when Congress convened to ratify the Electoral College tally, Vice President Gore was present to preside over the event and declared that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would take office as president and vice president, respectively.

That was the statesmanlike behavior we have come to expect in our nation’s top political leadership. We have seen nothing approaching it from Donald Trump. I hope with all sincerity that Mike Pence is a better man than the president.

That’s more like it …

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If that first Joe Biden-Donald Trump brawl turned out to be an unwatchable fiasco, we got something a whole lot more civil tonight.

That’s about it.

Vice-presidential nominees Kamala Harris and Mike Pence chided each other. They refused to answer direct questions. All told, though, it was much more of what we think of as a “debate,” given that they were able to answer each other’s accusatory rhetoric.

I suppose one takeaway was how Vice President Pence talked over Sen. Harris’s answers, to which she would scold him, “I am talking, Mr. Vice President.”

To her credit, Harris didn’t interrupt Pence … except perhaps for a time or two.

I remain committed to supporting the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket. Based on what I witnessed tonight, Pence did nothing to persuade me to even think about supporting his side.

He didn’t answer questions related to the pandemic and his role as leader of the White House response team; Pence sought to pivot at times from a direct question to speak about an unrelated issue.

As for Harris, I just wish she would have answered the question about whether she supports adding to the Supreme Court if the Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett as the next justice. She danced away from it.

Still, I declare Kamala Harris the winner by a split decision.

The Biden-Harris ticket remains in the lead. I just hope now that they can hold onto it through the end of this most unusual campaign.