Mike Pence shows how Trump destroys everything he touches
Joining a death cult does lasting damage.
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Also in this edition from Aaron:
— A bombshell you may have missed from Trump’s January 6 indictment
— Trump’s TV lawyers aren’t helping his cause
Scroll down to read those pieces.
By Noah Berlatsky
Mike Pence is an object lesson; choosing Donald Trump leads to humiliation and despair. And yet, Republicans, and indeed the country, can't seem to stop choosing him.
In 2016, Pence, then governor of Indiana, agreed to be Trump's vice presidential candidate, giving Trump needed credibility with Christian conservatives, the Republican Party establishment, and GOP elites. Pence no doubt hoped he'd boost his own political fortunes and have a chance at the presidency himself some day.
Instead, in 2020, after losing reelection, Trump pressured his vice president to join his half-baked coup attempt. When Pence refused to shred the Constitution and expose himself to legal jeopardy, Trump encouraged the violent mob gathered on January 6 to try to hunt him down. There were at least a few moments where Pence's life seemed genuinely at risk.
Trump didn't manage to kill his vice president. But he did effectively label Pence a traitor, making him a partisan villain for many Republicans. Following the indictment of Trump this week for his role in trying to overthrow the election, Pence denounced his former boss in more explicit terms than he's managed up to now.
For his troubles, Pence has been called "Judas" and worse on social media. He’s currently polling around 4.4 percent in the GOP primary, almost 50 full points behind Trump himself, who is the frontrunner. Perhaps even more embarrassing, Pence is one of only two major candidates who hasn’t yet qualified for the first primary debate.
Associating with Trump doesn’t end well
Pence is hardly the only crony Trump has led to ruin. Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer who said he "sold his soul" to Trump, ended up with a 3-year prison sentence for campaign finance violations and tax evasion committed in Trump's service. After the most recent indictment, it now looks like Trump is hoping to blame his lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, for his coup attempt.
You don't have to be a close associate to suffer by helping Trump. The January 6 rioters who stormed the Capitol (and put Pence's life at risk) thought in many cases that they were fighting to save the republic — and that their president, Trump, would protect them. Trump of course had no intention of protecting anyone but himself, and many rioters ended up in prison. Some came to dimly realize they'd been had and that Trump lied to them when he said the election was rigged.
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