Of all the high-ranking people in his administration, Mike Pence is the one that Donald Trump can’t fire. As a constitutionally elected official, the vice president does not serve at the pleasure of the president.
Such a unique position should confer unique responsibility. Pence has shown special and irresponsible spinelessness.
Trump picked the then-Indiana governor in 2016 as a social conservative former congressman who could help sell him to evangelicals, a task that proved especially important after the release, four years ago today, of the skeevy “Access Hollywood” tape. The Republican establishment saw Pence tempering Trump’s impulsive sensibilities.
Instead, Pence has consistently fallen in line, with dire consequences for the nation.
In the “you had one job” category, Pence’s most prominent role has been chairing the coronavirus task force. In its earliest days, as medical experts took the lead, press conferences provided useful information. As Trump big-footed the spotlight, Pence let the bull run roughshod over sane public health guidance.
Beyond just standing by silently, Pence has adopted Trump’s worst instincts: He refused to wear a face mask during his visit to the Mayo Clinic, despite being told to ahead of time. He then began repeating Trump false talking points that cases were rising nationally only because of more testing.
This obsequiousness is not new. In 2018, in one of several Cabinet meetings where members praised Trump as North Koreans might Kim Jong Un, Pence’s toadying stood out among the crowd.
With the VP debate scheduled tonight in Salt Lake City, Pence’s camp yesterday tried backing off adding a plexiglass shield as extra anti-COVID protection, clearly to channel his boss’ new line not to fear COVID.
Boot them both.
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