Mike Pence Is Running Against Mike Pence

Mike Pence Is Running Against Mike Pence

Mike Pence Is Running Against Mike Pence

As he resists testifying about January 6, the guy who wants to be president shows his utter spinelessness.


Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”

Let’s watch as former vice president Mike Pence fights the subpoena from January 6 special sounsel Jack Smith. Pence is essentially siding with the people who wanted to kill him.

First, recall, Pence said he would talk to investigators—just not those from the congressional January 6 committee. It was partisan, y’know.

Then he said he wouldn’t comply with Smith’s subpoena, because of his own contested legal status on January 6, as he presided over Congress as vice president to certify the Electoral College votes, supposedly making him a member of Congress?

Back on January 6, Pence was doing the right thing. Now, he’s absolutely not.

On Tuesday a judge backed Smith’s subpoena, and unless Pence successfully appeals, he will have to testify. It’s very hard to be Mike Pence right now.

Pence’s display has been pathetic. He tried to plead politics. “I’m going to fight the Biden DOJ subpoena for me to appear before the grand jury because I believe it’s unconstitutional and it’s unprecedented,” Pence told reporters in February. It’s true that Pence’s situation is unprecedented: A president who lost his reelection bid has never before tried to get his vice president to overturn the election.

Or as his former adviser J. Michael Luttig wrote in The New York Times last week: “Inasmuch as Mr. Pence’s claim is novel and an unsettled question in constitutional law, it is only novel and unsettled because there has never been a time in our country’s history where it was thought imperative for someone in a vice president’s position, or his lawyer, to conjure the argument.”

Pence can’t win. Does he know that? I’m not sure. I don’t think Pence is stupid. But maybe his place in the world—Trump aside, he is a far-right Christian, anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ rights, wants to cut Social Security and Medicare, just about the worst agenda there is—makes him oblivious.

To be fair, anyone who wants to be president can imaginably be president. Few of us thought Trump could win. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the leading presumptive Trump challenger, has plunged in the polls. Who knows? Maybe Pence can do it.

It’s offensive to have a man who thinks he could or should be president play politics like this. Mike, you really should try to care about how you look to the world. I guess it won’t matter to the Republican primary base. I mean, it won’t. But if you want to be president?

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Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

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