With the word “impeachment” now being spoken out loud on Capitol Hill in Donald Trump’s direction, Mike Pence has been making moves aimed at looking presidential – presumably in case he ends up in a position to inherit the job. One of those moves has been to campaign for Republican candidates in special elections, such as Greg Gianforte in Montana. But now Pence is acting the precise opposite of presidential.
Last night Gianforte’s psychical assault of a reporter became a national story, even with Montana residents heading to the polls to vote today. So how did Mike Pence handle the fallout? Did he step up and show leadership at a difficult time for his party? Did he retract his earlier endorsement of Gianforte in light of the stunning last minute events, as a number of newspapers in Montana have forthrightly done today?
According to the White House press pool, Mike Pence responded to the Gianforte crisis today by vanishing (link). He canceled his one scheduled public event, presumably to avoid questions from reporters about the Montana election. And he put out no statement about Gianforte of any kind. Instead, Pence tried to change the focus by announcing on Twitter (link) this afternoon that he’ll be attending the upcoming Indy 500 race in Indiana.
Mike Pence seems to think that looking “presidential” means blindly endorsing a candidate from his own party, and then canceling events and going into hiding once that endorsement goes terribly wrong, only to announce some other future “presidential” sounding public appearance instead. Pence seems to have forgotten that when he quit as Governor of Indiana last year, his approval rating was so low that he’d have had no shot at reelection. He’s likely to be showered with boos at the Indy 500 – if he doesn’t cancel that appearance as well. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report