Washington Watch: Dead man walking

Last week, Karen told a Women for Trump group, “Don’t be afraid to get on your knees” to pray for Trump.

President Donald Trump walks out to greet Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella at the White House on Wednesday (photo credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)
President Donald Trump walks out to greet Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella at the White House on Wednesday
(photo credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)
If you want to know how scared US Vice President Mike Pence is that President Donald Trump will drop him from the 2020 GOP ticket, just listen to his wife Karen praise the well-known sexual predator for having “empowered women like no other” and for the respect he has shown her daughters.
You don’t have to have been living on another planet to know she wouldn’t let her daughters within miles of the man whose greeting she refused on election night because she reportedly considered him “reprehensible” and was “disgusted” by the infamous Access Hollywood tape and his boasting about grabbing women “by the p***y.”
Last week, Karen told a Women for Trump group, “Don’t be afraid to get on your knees” to pray for Trump.
On election night in 2016, she was said to have turned away when her husband tried to kiss her. “You got what you wanted, Mike. Now leave me alone,” she said, according to eyewitness reports. And now she’d trust Trump with her daughters?
The religious Mrs. Pence knows lying is a mortal sin but being dumped by Trump sucks. Her husband has been preparing for his own future presidential bid since before he met Trump – he believes it is a destiny chosen for him by God.
The Pence’s are clearly terrified Trump will toss them under the bus – a crowded patch of pavement brimming with former cabinet secretaries, chiefs of staff, senior officials, retired generals, ambassadors, White House staffers, lawyers and tens of thousands of Kurds and pro-democracy Hong Kong demonstrators.
Pence has been the ultimate sycophant, the picture of self-interested loyalty, but that may not be enough for Trump, for whom loyalty is demanded but not reciprocated. Last month, Trump couldn’t even get his vice president’s name right, calling him “Mike Pounce.”
It appears Trump is setting Pence up to take the fall for the Ukraine scandal. Pence denies telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to start digging up dirt on the Bidens or else risk losing congressionally approved military aid. Trump defends his own conversation with Zelensky as “perfect” and containing no threats. The president told reporters, “And I think you should ask for Pence’s conversation, because he had a couple conversations also.”
The buzz around Washington for months has been that Pence is a dead man walking because Trump no longer needs him to bring along the Evangelicals, and because he’s not helping with a critical constituency that looks like a major problem for the president in 2020: women.
A QUINNIPIAC POLL released Monday showing Trump losing white women, a group he won last time, by 14%. The name most often heard to replace Pence is former UN ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley – especially since the Democrats are likely to have a woman not named Hillary on their ticket.
But as momentum builds for impeachment, it is Trump – not his vice president – who may be the dead man walking.
The Ukraine scandal and the abandonment of the Kurds came in quick succession, and the fat lady isn’t even warming up yet. Of course, once again this week Pence showed his blind loyalty by parroting Trump’s lies about not giving Turkey the green light to slaughter the Kurds, but that’s his job.
Fearing joining the crowd under Trump’s bus, Pence may decide to act first. Can he gather enough cabinet colleagues to invoke the 25th by convincing them that Trump is about to take down the entire ship and only they can prevent it? A good case can be made that this president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” because he is mentally and emotionally unstable. And crooked. And impeachable and convictable.
Trump’s pro-Israel constituency won’t have a problem with the change. For Evangelicals, Pence really is one of them – not just a foul-mouthed panderer who doesn’t go to church, doesn’t read the Bible and knows little of their religion, much less shares it. Pence describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican – in that order.”
Actually, evangelicals have shown they don’t care so much about Trump’s philandering, blasphemy, lying and corruption so long as their hypocrisy is rewarded with judgeships and anti-gay, anti-abortion policies that advance their own – but not others’ – religious liberty.
For Trump’s Jewish supporters, the evangelical Pence can be expected to continue present Middle East policies, and possibly more reliably since Trump often acts on whims and political expediency, even to the point of abandoning allies. Jewish money and votes currently going to Trump will continue to flow, not just because Pence would continue his Israel policies, but also because the current administration’s anti-tax, anti-regulation, pro-business approach is unlikely to change.
Pence could raise the comfort level for Republican voters to accepting impeachment or the 25th Amendment because he is more of what they expect or used to be pre-Trump – deficit hawks, free traders, hard-liners on Russia, North Korea and China, reliable allies and, of course, he is a longtime Republican, not a former Democrat who supported abortion, LGBTQ rights and gun control.
Pence will continue most of Trump’s policies with zeal, but in a way, that will please his wife, Karen.
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