Mike Pence has finally embarked on his Middle East tour, an apparent attempt on his part at looking “presidential” so he can increase his odds of being accepted in the role once Donald Trump is ousted. But right out of the gate, Pence has stepped in it. In fact he’s gone to rather extraordinary lengths to step in it. It’s enough to raise the question of why he even went there with his profoundly stupid remark today, and if he might have done it on purpose.
Trump’s affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels has been getting less attention than it should, because it just happened to surface in between Trump’s vulgar racism scandal and his government shutdown scandal. It’s nothing new for a president to get caught having an affair, but the subsequent blackmail component should be front page news. Instead the story has largely lingered in the background, until Pence decided to bring it up today.
Pence told reporters that the allegations of an affair between Trump and Daniels are “baseless.” Suddenly, because Trump’s own VP is weighing in on it, the scandal is front page news. It’s raising questions about how Pence could even know the affair didn’t happen, since it’s alleged to have taken place in 2006, as well as questions about how Pence could have known the blackmail payment didn’t happen, as Trump’s personal attorney allegedly took care of it during the election without involving the campaign. So is Pence this stupid, or is he doing this on purpose?
Even Donald Trump seems to have the sense, for once, not to bother denying the affair-blackmail story for fear of making it bigger. Mike Pence clearly stepped in it by addressing it at all. But did he step in it on purpose? Is Pence making a point of denying the Trump-Daniels blackmail saga in order to force it front and center? Is this his way of further scandalizing Donald Trump? Is he now trying to push Trump out of office so he can take over? Or is Pence merely pushing Trump’s porn star scandal to the front in the hope it’ll distract from the worsening Trump-Russia scandal? After all, Pence is deeply caught up in the latter.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report