Mike Pence

Pence Stays In the Shadows

Politico: “From the moment last July when Trump picked Pence as his running mate, through the first five months of this administration, the vice president has been all but invisible in the parade of palace intrigue stories detailing the rivalries, alliances, backstabbing, self-promoting and stock-watching inside Trump’s reality-TV style presidency. That is no accident: Pence made clear to everyone around him when he was picked, and again at the outset of the administration, that the spotlight belongs to Trump. Leaking, speaking out of turn or doing anything that could be perceived as upstaging the president would not be tolerated… Unsurprisingly, the vice president declined to comment for this story.”

“His inconspicuousness is engineered to keep all eyes on the president. But it’s also necessary to guard against whispers that he, not Trump, is running the show—a narrative fueled both by Pence’s standing in the party and by the fact that he has been empowered like no vice president before him to establish, sell and execute the administration’s agenda. Five months into the Trump era—and less than a year since he was plucked from a thorny situation in Indiana—Pence, once an endangered small-state governor, has become the most popular Republican in the country and accumulated an astonishing amount of power.”

Washington Post: Pence’s balancing act as Trump’s No. 2 shows signs of strain amid White House turmoil.

Pence Lawyers Up for Russia Investigation

Vice President Mike Pence “has hired outside legal counsel to help with both congressional committee inquiries and the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia,” the Washington Post reports.

“Pence’s decision comes less than a month after Trump hired his own private attorney, Marc E. Kasowitz, to help navigate the investigations related to the Russia probe, and a day after the Washington Post reported that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is now widening his investigation to examine whether the president attempted to obstruct justice.”

Imagining President Pence

Clare Malone: “The events that precede Pence’s swearing-in would no doubt shape his tenure in ways that can’t be predicted. But the make and measure of a man is not wholly defined by his circumstances. Pence is a political figure of specific principle and ideology, and his past may give us hints about the president he would be. A reading of his political history reveals a devoted adherent to an unbending conservative worldview but also a man chastened by the realities of governing a society undergoing profound change. Above all, it shows a political survivor, attuned to the delicate dynamics of a capricious White House — and perhaps patient enough to be playing the long game of the Trump presidency.”

What Trump Should Be Worried About

Mike Allen: “Beyond his base voters, Trump has an even bigger potential problem looming with his base in Congress. While Republican lawmakers won’t say it publicly, it’s widely known if they could pick between President Pence and President Trump, the Vice President would win 90% of the vote among the GOP.”

“Bill Clinton benefited from a large number of true fans and believers among elected Democrats when he survived impeachment. Trump has few authentic fans or loyalists in Congress. So if things take a turn for the worse, GOP flight could come fast and furious — since the end result would be President Pence.”

Time for President Pence?

Dana Millbank: “Trump shows no ability to correct course, to pull himself out of a self-destructive spiral. It may be premature to talk of impeachment or resignation, but Trump’s path is unsustainable. Republicans in Congress would be sensible to start thinking about an endgame, and the former Indiana governor may be the their best hope — and all of ours.”

“Many liberals correctly call Pence a doctrinaire conservative, particularly on gay rights and other social issues. He’ll be forever tarnished because of his role in legitimizing Trump for mainstream conservatives, a calculation based on the vain hope that he could influence Trump. He has embarrassed himself in office by parroting Trump’s untruths and cheerleading for the boss.”

“But Pence is, at core, a small-d democrat, not a demagogue. The world would be safer with him in charge. We would still have fierce divisions about the nation’s direction. But Pence, in the nearly two decades I’ve known him, has been an honorable man. Opponents can disagree with him yet sleep well knowing he’s unlikely to be irrational.”

Pence Hits the Road to Prep for Midterms

Vice President Mike Pence “is embarking on a cross-country summer campaign tour amid rising fears that the GOP, reeling from a barrage of Trump-fueled controversies, is headed for a midterm election disaster,” Politico reports.

“Pence is mapping out a schedule that will take him through several Midwestern battlegrounds and to traditionally conservative southern states like Georgia, where an unexpectedly competitive June special election runoff is alarming party strategists… The push comes at a time of growing consternation among senior Republicans who say the White House has given them little direction on midterm planning. Many complain that they do not even know who to contact about 2018 in an administration that has been consumed by chaos.”

What a President Pence Would Face

Politico: “Suppose that for whatever reason Trump should cede the presidency to his vice president—say the president makes America great again ahead of schedule or alternatively decides he’s sick of the ‘witch hunts’ — one might ask what kind of world and what unique challenges a President Mike Pence would face. The answer is, quite simply, a multitude.”

“Indeed, with the possible exception of Gerald Ford, the able and experienced Pence would face the most difficult political and national security headwinds of any unelected commander-in-chief in America’s history. Of the nine men who have assumed the office unexpectedly, none has faced such a vicious political, media and cultural environment—an environment where even staunch Democrats like Dianne Feinstein are booed by supporters for not endorsing socialism and propelled by a frantic social media that turns every moment of the Trump presidency into The Wire meets Game of Thrones. In the face of these challenges, a President Pence would have to make a series of quick decisions that would set the tone for his administration, determine the prospects for his policy agenda and, not incidentally, decided his political future.”

Source Claims Pence Kept Out of the Loop

Vice President Mike Pence has been kept in the dark about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s alleged wrongdoing, according to a source close to the administration, who cited a potential “pattern” of not informing the vice president and calling it “malpractice or intentional, and either are unacceptable,” NBC News reports.

“The source close to the administration, who requested anonymity as the White House denies the story, is now saying that Pence and his team were not made aware of any investigation relating to Flynn’s work as a foreign agent for Turkey.”

CNN: Pence is a loyal soldier, but news cycle wearing on him.

Trump to Launch Commission on ‘Election Integrity’

President Trump “is expected to sign an executive order today establishing a commission to review alleged voter fraud and voter suppression in the American election system,” ABC News reports.

The officials say Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will be announced as Chair and Vice Chair of the “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity” in a press release today.

Pence Avoids Internal White House Battles

Vice President Mike Pence “has delicately sidestepped the infighting, scandals and staff shakeups that have dragged down many of Trump’s aides, instead taking his cues from the president as he shapes one of the most consequential jobs in the world,” Politico reports.

“While many vice presidents angle for power inside the West Wing, Pence has defined his role narrowly. His thinking, according to those close to him, is that the vice president has only two constitutional duties – to serve as president of the Senate and to be prepared in case of the worst. The rest is up to Trump… Pence’s approach has allowed him to artfully navigate the warring fiefdoms that have emerged in the West Wing and stay in Trump’s good graces – even if it means he’s hasn’t amassed the influence, as many had hoped, to pull the president in a more conservative direction.”

Pence Threatens North Korea with Military Action

“Vice President Pence warned North Korea Monday that it could be in for the same treatment as Syria and Afghanistan – both of which the Trump administration has bombed this month – if it continues with its nuclear program,” the Washington Post reports.

“The stark warning, delivered in Seoul after the vice president went to the military demarcation that separates the two Koreas, could revive speculation that the White House is considering military action against the regime in Pyongyang.”

New York Times: “A Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow Motion”

Pence Enlisted to Save ‘Safe’ GOP Seat

Sources told the Washington Examiner that Vice President Mike Pence “would record a call urging Republicans in Kansas’ Wichita-area 4th district to get out and vote for state Treasurer Ron Estes, who is locked in a tight battle with Democrat James Thompson.”

“The White House political office, led by political director Bill Stepien, has joined what has become a party-wide effort to save a seat that President Trump won by nearly 30 points in November.”

The GOP Has a Nuclear Option on Health Care

Rick Klein and Shushannah Walshe: “Want to really blow up the Senate – and fast? A new proposal is emerging that would likely do just that, and it has nothing to do with Senate Democrats’ vow to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. A proposal is being pushed by some Senate Republicans that would seek to ensure that a House-passed bill could be passed intact by only a simple majority of senators.”

“How would that work? Well, the vice president, of course, is the president of the Senate. The thinking goes that if the Senate parliamentarian ruled that parts of the bill can’t be folded into budget reconciliation, Vice President Mike Pence could simply overrule that. Sen. Rand Paul wants the White House to make that commitment now: ‘That alone, I think, would break the logjam,’ he told reporters Thursday. Perhaps, but that’s not all it would break. This would be the executive branch’s changing the rules of the upper legislative body. Filibusters could be broken, perhaps in any circumstance, at the whim of the vice president. In honor of a certain former veep, that would be a BFD.”

Pence Becoming Major Player In Foreign Policy

Josh Rogin: “The role and influence of the vice president, not enshrined in any law, is determined in any administration by three things: his direct relationship with the president, his building of a personal portfolio of issues, and the effectiveness of his team. When it comes to foreign policy, Vice President Pence is quietly succeeding on all three fronts.”

“Pence, a traditional hawk influenced heavily by his Christian faith, is carefully and deliberately assuming a stance that fits within the president’s agenda while respecting the prerogatives of other senior White House aides who also want to play large foreign policy roles … [and] is seen by many in Washington as a figure who might stand up for the traditionally hawkish views he espoused while in Congress … It’s a tricky balancing act, but if Pence can keep the president’s trust, stay above the internal politics and build out his portfolio, he will be able to continue to increase his influence on foreign policy inside the White House and on the world stage.”