It’s always difficult to determine what might be going on inside the head of former Vice President Mike Pence, but, for whatever reason, he recently had a rare bout with courage and decided to speak some truths about the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
Pence blasted former President Donald Trump, who incorrectly insisted that Pence had the power to refuse to certify the results of the November 2020 election, which Trump lost handily to Joe Biden.
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said during the annual Gridiron Dinner in Washington, D.C., March 11. “I had no right to overturn the election, and his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
Pence also tore into Fox News Channel foghorn Tucker Carlson, who as of late has been attempting to portray the violent mob of insurrectionists who attacked police officers and did millions of dollars in damage as a harmless band of tourists who got a little rowdy while visiting the U.S. Capitol.
“Tourists don’t injure 140 police officers by sightseeing,” Pence said. “Tourists don’t break down doors to get to the Speaker of the House or voice threats against public officials.”
Pence has been the darling of Christian Nationalists – who were well represented in the Jan. 6 horde – for years, but these groups have remained silent about his barbs. Some groups, notably the American Family Association, seem to be grasping that Trump’s political brand is toxic and have jumped ship to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Despite Pence’s many years of kowtowing to Christian Nationalist groups, they don’t seem to be looking to him as a viable presidential candidate in 2024.
Perhaps this realization is finally dawning on Pence. Maybe that’s what is spurring him to speak frankly about his old boss – a man who, by the way, reacted positively when the Jan. 6 mob began chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!”
Pence can’t be portrayed as a victim, and he deserves no sympathy. After all, he aided and abetted Trump’s assault on democracy for four years and is only now speaking out. History will hold Pence accountable as it will Trump.
Christian doctrine teaches that forgiveness is always possible. If Pence is seeking the forgiveness of the American people, his remarks during the Gridiron Dinner won’t go very far. He has a lot of work ahead of him.
P.S. Let’s not forget that throughout Pence’s political career, he has supported anti-LGBTQ and anti-women policies – and during the dinner, he made remarks that many decried as homophobic and demeaning of new mothers. Pence took a jab at Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay cabinet member, for taking an extended leave when his twins were born premature and hospitalized for a prolonged period after birth: “When Pete’s two children were born, he took two months maternity leave… I mean, Pete Buttigieg is the only person in human history to have a child, and all the rest of us get postpartum depression.”
The criticism of Trump was welcome, but Pence remains clueless on many levels.