Mike Pence

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.”

Pence Used Personal Email for State Business

Vice President Mike Pence “routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues,” the Indianapolis Star reports.

“Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.”

Bannon Delivered Different Message Before Pence Visit

“In the week before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Brussels and pledged America’s ‘steadfast and enduring’ commitment to the European Union, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon met with a German diplomat and delivered a different message, according to people familiar with the talks,” Reuters reports.

“Bannon, these people said, signaled to Germany’s ambassador to Washington that he viewed the EU as a flawed construct and favored conducting relations with Europe on a bilateral basis.”

Is Mike Pence In the Loop?

Washington Post: “Throughout the campaign and now in office, Pence has largely managed to avoid the infighting and warring factions of the young White House by keeping his head down and soldiering loyally forward. But the incident with Flynn reveals both the benefits and risks of his approach — he has emerged largely unharmed by the scandal that led to Flynn’s resignation, but his influence within the West Wing has come increasingly into question given how little he knew about his own situation.”

“Pence’s decision to try to stay out of the cliques that have plagued the White House has allowed him, so far, to maintain his standing as a neutral player committed to forwarding Trump’s agenda on Capitol Hill. But it also appears to have left him at times outside of Trump’s brain trust.”

Pence Expected to Make Historic Vote for DeVos

New York Times: “A vice president does not have much on his plate, as far as constitutional responsibilities go. He presides over the official count of electoral votes once, possibly twice, and, in the meantime, he waits in the wings in case the president becomes incapacitated.”

“But Vice President Mike Pence is expected to demonstrate the position’s unique duty, and in historic fashion: In his capacity as president of the Senate, he is expected to cast the deciding vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as President Trump’s education secretary — the first time a vice president has had to resolve a tie on a cabinet nomination in the nation’s history.”

Quote of the Day

“I have to tell you that in all of my life there was always a grace period, right? New president’s coming in. I think they call it a honeymoon, right, where the media, like the others, gives the new administration a chance to come in and start to do what they do. And boy, if there was a honeymoon, it was pretty short. I sure don’t remember that.”

— Vice President Mike Pence, quoted by Politico.

Pence Calls His Wife ‘Mother’

Rolling Stone offers an anecdote from when Mike Pence invited Democratic legislators to the governor’s mansion for dinner:

“Mother, Mother, who prepared our meal this evening?”

The legislators looked at one another, speaking with their eyes: He just called his wife “Mother.”

Maybe it was a joke, the legislator reasoned. But a few minutes later, Pence shouted again.

“Mother, Mother, whose china are we eating on?”

Mother Pence went on a long discourse about where the china was from. A little later, the legislators stumbled out, wondering what was weirder: Pence’s inability to make conversation, or calling his wife “Mother” in the second decade of the 21st century.