It has been very frustrating to watch all the flurry around Trump and Russian involvement in the ‘16 election and beyond, but never a word is spoken about Vice President Mike Pence. He is being protected by the Republicans in Congress and the Corporate news behemoths, no doubt about it. He’s also being protected by Big Industry and Big Oil. There has been virtually zero negative press about Mike Pence’s incessant lies, coverups, and shenanigans. Until now.
Steve Schmidt, Republican Strategist, has taken the gloves off.
For those who are not familiar with Schmidt, he is the—very highly respected—Republican Presidential campaign strategist played by Woody Harrelson in the movie Game Change, about John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin for VP during the 2008 election. Schmidt was part of the team who selected Palin to energize McCain’s flailing campaign, but became very worried about her intellectual abilities and temperament as he got to know her and saw her perform. He later lamented his part in her selection during a Morning Joe interview, and said the campaign should have taken a “presidential” frame of mind in making such an important decision, and not a “political” frame of mind. In other words, he said they were more focused on winning than about the stability of the person in Office. (This, of course, is the Republican M.O., but at least Schmidt has the honesty and integrity to decry the tactic.)
A short clip:
Since last summer, Schmidt has been a Republican voice in the wilderness, warning Americans about Trump’s fascist leanings and taking the Republican Party to task for its silence and inaction. He has been loud and ubiquitous on talk shows and the MSNBC nightly news programs, calling out Trump’s destruction of political norms that make our country great. Here is a list of videos of Schmidt this past year, slamming Trump and his administration.
That has been refreshing, but it has been Schmidt’s all-out war with Republicans in Congress that has gained my total respect. One example is his appearance recently on MSNBC All In With Chris Hayes on the subject of Roy Moore’s pedophilia problem: “I don’t have the words to express my shame. It’s disgraceful. What we are talking about here Chris, is a 14 year old little girl. Roy Moore is a pedophile.” (That segment, I believe, was one of the several catalysts that jolted Republicans to denounce Roy Moore).
Today he, again, absolutely nailed it on Morning Joe: “We don’t talk enough about the Vice President’s nonstop lying about Russia.” (Original video was taken down, and doesn’t seem to exist anymore on MSNBC with Steve Schmidt in it, so have replaced with the Raw Story link. Schmidt appears around the 6:00 mark)
Schmidt: “We don’t talk enough about the Vice President’s nonstop lying also.”
[Mika] Yep. Because being “willfully stupid” and not asking for following up questions (on Russia)...wouldn’t you pick up the phone and say ‘What is going on?’...if you care as an American what happens in this country?”
Schmidt: “Absolutely. I think that over these months the vice president’s exposed himself as a titanic fraud. “When it comes to consensual relationships between gay Americans, he’s never tongue-tied on that. We don’t hear from him on Roy Moore. We don’t hear from him…
“The truth of the matter is... 100 percent of the people around this administration, when asked a question about...the Russian involvement in this election, they lie about it,” Schmidt said. ...“100% of the time.”
Bill Moyers, journo-extraordinaire, posted a timeline of Mike Pence’s lies: billmoyers.com/…
Pence began to earn his Trump disinformation stripes during the first vice presidential debate. Feigning shock at Tim Kaine’s suggestion (at the 36-minute mark) that Trump was waging an insult-driven campaign, Pence looked into the camera and said incredulously, “He says ours is an insult-driven campaign? Did you all just hear that? Ours is an insult-driven campaign?”
Trump’s actions as president make Pence’s lies during the debate even more striking, including these:
- When confronted (at the 20-minute mark) about Trump’s pledge to “absolutely produce his tax returns” if he ran for president, Pence said, “He hasn’t broken his promise.”
- When asked (at the 44-minute mark) about Trump’s stated admiration for Vladimir Putin, Pence laughed it off: “Oh, please, come on.”
- When reminded (at the 49-minute mark) that Trump had proposed banning Muslims from entering the country, Pence interrupted: “Absolutely false.”
- When confronted with the fact (at the 65-minute mark) that he and Trump had praised Putin as a great leader, Pence became testy and laughed it off, saying, “No, we haven’t.”
Moyers and Company also posted an excellent interactive timeline of Russian influence in the US Presidential election, with key players, including Mike Pence.
This one jumped out:
Now heading the Trump transition team, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) had warned Trump not to give a high-level administration position to retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who is not on any of the team’s long lists for government appointments. While Christie is chairing a meeting of Trump’s transition team, Flynn and another retired General, Keith Kellogg, enter the room. Neither is a member of the team. When Christie asks if he can help them, Ivanka Trump, who is a member of the team’s executive council, says she invited them to attend.
Praising Flynn’s “amazing loyalty to my father,” Ivanka asks Flynn what job he wants. Flynn expresses interest in becoming secretary of state or secretary of defense.
Hours later, Pence replaces Christie as head of the transition team.
I believe Trump is toast. I also believe VP Mike Pence is an actor and a traitor. We should pivot to aggressive reporting on his obfuscation, and embrace of, Russian influence on our country. It is of utmost importance, as he likely will be worse than Trump.
Another Republican that has been speaking out is Rick Wilson, who writes for the Daily Beast and also frequently excoriates Trump, Pence, and Congressional Republicans, usually with sardonic wit: