Mike Pense becomes President
Break with Trump - "After all the things I've done for him": Will Mike Pence go from lackey to hero?
"After all the things I've done for him": Will Mike Pence go from lackey to hero?
After following President Donald Trump as a loyal servant for nearly four years, Mike Pence proved on Wednesday that he has a backbone. What just got into the Vice President?
Typical Mike Pence. When he announced the end of the joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives in the Washington Capitol in the early morning hours of Thursday, an oversized gavel in hand, he kept his face straight.
The 61-year-old looked as if he had just come into the office, his snow-white hair perfectly coiffed and the dark, neutral suit freshly ironed. Nothing, nothing at all, indicated that Pence had just lived through the most dramatic day of his long career - the day he decided not to serve the President as a lackey.
Why Pence decided to break with his nominal superior on Wednesday, two weeks before the end of his term, remains his secret for the time being. It will not have been down to Donald Trump's persuasiveness; Trump called on the Vice President on Wednesday morning to deprive Democrat Joe Biden of his election victory during the joint Senate-House meeting.
The president calls his vice a sissy
Pence is a wimp if he does not support the attempted coup by the Republicans, the president is said to have told his vice-president accordingly. Pence, however, refused to cite the constitution and traditions. In a long written statement, he said: As Vice President, he is only the chairman of the meeting. He did not have the authority to prevent Congress from taking note of the official election results.
Then the Trump mob stormed the Capitol, spurred on by the President, and Pence (along with the people's representatives) had to be brought to safety by security forces. These incidents probably confirmed the vice-president's resolve. Because Pence was a loyal supporter of the President; But he never got warm with the shady characters who fanatically supported Trump and who practically went through fire for the president.
This was mutual. In the presidential campaign, the vice president spoke to a few hundred supporters, businessmen, and chairmen of non-profit organizations, while Trump spoke to thousands of fanatical people.
A partnership from which both sides benefited
And yet, Pence saw himself as the President's heir. He counted on Trump to support him, implicitly or explicitly, if he ran for the highest office of the state himself. That was the deal the two negotiated in 2016. Pence, then governor of Indiana, served Trump as a door opener to traditional Republican electorate and the party's conservative establishment.
And Pence used Trump to implement long-cherished plans to reorganize the state - tax cuts, for example. The president also supported his vice-president in softening the separation between state and religion. This fulfilled an old wish of Pence, who used to say of himself: "I am a Christian, a Conservative and a Republican, in that order."
For the first time in 20 years without a political office
One thing is clear: the partnership between Trump and Pence ended on Wednesday at the latest. A Republican senator reported that Pence was visibly angry with the president. "After all the things I've done for him," he reportedly said, a local Oklahoma newspaper quoted veteran Senator Jim Inhofe.
It is also clear that on January 20, Pence will no longer hold a political office for the first time in the past two decades. The father of the family, married to his wife Karen since 1985, will travel back to Indiana to reflect on his political future. He could reinvent himself as a conservative with a backbone.
And run in the 2024 presidential election against party friends who either bear the surname Trump or claim they are the natural successors of the president. Perhaps, however, Pence will withdraw entirely from the political stage. Then he would be remembered as the Vice President who, at the crucial moment, remembered that the Constitution is more important than his career.
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