Tag Archives: Mike Pence

What did POTUS know and when did he know it?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The ghost of a great Republican U.S. senator has been revived in the closing hours of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.

Howard Baker of Tennessee once asked witnesses appearing before the Senate Watergate Committee: What did President Nixon know and when did he know it? What did the president know about the break-in at the Democratic Party offices, the coverup and all that followed that infamous scandal of 1973-74? We found out. Nixon resigned. The rest is history.

Now comes the latest iteration of that query. What did Donald Trump know about the danger facing Vice President Mike Pence during the Jan. 6 riot at Capitol Hill and when did he know it? Trump’s lawyers say he didn’t know anything. Two GOP lawmakers — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Tommy Tuberville — say something quite different. They told Trump that Pence was in trouble and that the mob was looking for the VP as he sought to do his constitutional duty of certifying the 2020 presidential election results.

Trump didn’t respond. He didn’t express concern about Pence’s well-being. He did nothing to quell the violence.

Will any of this change minds? Hardly. Still, I am intrigued by the channeling of a long-departed political icon — Sen. Baker — into this current bit of drama.

Trump-Pence: Done!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Imagine where former Vice President Mike Pence is at this moment and then ponder: What is he thinking if he is watching the U.S. Senate trial of Donald John Trump?

The House managers who are prosecuting the ex-president today told a chilling (true) tale of what happened on the Sixth of January, the day Trump incited the riotous mob to storm Capitol Hill.

Vice President Pence was at work in the Capitol Building at that time doing his constitutional duty, which was to preside over a joint congressional session that was meeting to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election — which Trump lost to Joe Biden.

Trump said Pence didn’t “have the courage” to go far beyond his constitutional responsibility and reverse the outcome of the election. The rioters went looking for Pence, declaring their intention to “hang” him.

Did Donald Trump call the VP to offer him comfort? Did he deploy security officers to rescue Pence from the murderous mob? Did he do anything to protect Pence, let alone members of Congress who were doing what the Constitution required them to do? No to all of it! Donald Trump did nothing.

So now I am left to wonder about the former vice president: What in the world is he thinking? How does he remain silent based on what I believe he has seen? How in the name of all that is decent does he maintain any kind of relationship with the man for whom he stood foursquare during their joint term in office?

I noted a while ago that Pence’s relationship with Trump likely ended when he did his job and declared that the 2020 presidential vote was legal, just and that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would become the next president and vice president of the United States.

Today’s testimony only cements my view that former Vice President Pence likely loathes the individual who asked him to join the clown car parade that ran the executive branch of the federal government.

Time to ‘move on’? Not just yet!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Republicans in Congress want to “move on” from the events of the Sixth of January. They are calling now for “unity” in the nation, that Americans do not want to see Donald Trump put on trial for inciting an insurrection against the government of this great nation.

I don’t think I will move on. Nor should any of us put the horrendous events of that terrible incident behind us. We need a full, thorough hearing on what the nation witnessed in real time and the U.S. Senate needs to put all its members on record on whether they believe Donald Trump committed a crime on that momentous day.

The Senate is preparing to conduct the second impeachment trial on Donald Trump’s conduct as president. The Senate acquitted him in early 2020 on charges of abuse of power and of obstruction of Congress.

Now comes this event. To my way of thinking, what Donald Trump did on Jan. 6 was tantamount to launching an attempt coup against the government. The terrorist mob marched on Capitol Hill with many terrorists intent on harming Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Their “crime”? They were presiding over Congress’s sworn duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Joe Biden won.

Is it really time to “move on” from this incident? Do we just throw up our hands and say that none of it matters any longer just because Trump is no longer in office? Good God in heaven, no!

I say this understanding that Trump is likely to walk away once again with an acquittal. That outcome will cause me some internal grief, but I’ll get over it.

There must be a full hearing of what Trump did that day. What the mobsters did in response to his egging them on. The consequences of what could have occurred had they achieved their stated aim of overturning a free and fair election.

They attacked our democratic process.

Once we hear it all, every detail of it, only then can we move on.

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.