Mike Pence is positioning himself for Donald Trump’s demise. But Pence can also be taken down.

We may never know precisely when he made the conclusion. But over the past ten days, Mike Pence’s words and actions have made clear that he expects to become president before much longer. He’s used the Michael Flynn fiasco to try to insulate himself from the Russia scandal. He’s aligned himself with the one cabinet member whom everyone respects. He’s even running his own foreign policy. Pence no longer expects Donald Trump to last. But Pence can also be taken down.

Take a close look at Mike Pence’s actions since the day Flynn resigned. He’s publicly insisting that Flynn lied to him, and he’s publicly demanding to know which of Donald Trump’s advisers made the decision to keep Flynn’s lies from him. In so doing, he’s casting doubt on everyone who’s loyal to Trump, and likely by design. Pence also used his speech in Germany to unveil his own aggressive policy toward Russia, which stands in stark contrast to Trump’s Russian lovefest. And Pence appears to be aligning himself with the Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, giving himself a key ally. All of these pieces fit together.

As I’ve previously pointed out, Pence isn’t even close to having the votes of enough cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office. But with the Russia scandal reaching the point this week that even the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee are now aggressively moving forward with the investigation, Pence appears to believe he can just bide his time until Trump is either impeached or resigns. And Pence may be right. But that’s just the beginning of the battle.

Here’s what Mike Pence is hoping for: Donald Trump is ousted in disgrace over the Russia scandal. Pence then becomes president after having already publicly positioned himself as a victim in the Russia scandal, and having already established himself as holding anti-Russia views. Pence probably even asks Congress to approve General Mattis as his new vice president. And then as the nation breathes a sigh of relief that the Trump nightmare is over, and ceases caring about politics, Pence quietly moves forward with whatever politely-spoken extremist conservative agenda he wants. But that last part is a fantasy.

Mike Pence might well become president, and he might get Mattis as his VP. But what Pence isn’t counting on is that the public activism of 2017 isn’t merely a rebellion against Trump’s crazed behavior, or the illegitimacy of the election. It’s a wholesale rejection of the social conservatism that Pence stands for. The Women’s March was about women’s rights and civil rights as much as it was an anti-Trump display. The town hall eruptions have been about preserving access to health care. Pence is decidedly on the wrong side of all of these issues. The activism won’t let up simply because Trump is out and Pence is in.

Worse for Mike Pence, it doesn’t take all that much to figure out that he knew far more about the Russia scandal than he’s letting on. He was a major player in the Trump campaign for five months before election day, and it’s a near certainty that he knew Trump’s advisers were colluding with Russia the entire time. And if the 2018 midterms hand one or both houses of Congress to the Democrats as expected, you’d better believe they’re going to spend the next two years getting to the bottom of whatever role “President Pence” played in the Russia scandal — while rejecting every bit of his extremist legislation.

So if Mike Pence wants to help nudge Donald Trump out of power so he can step into the White House instead, more power to him. He’ll be stepping into a political buzzsaw in the process. Pence will be tainted by the Russia scandal and the illegitimacy of the election results that put him into power, and the activism against his extremism will be just as fierce as ever. Trump is learning the hard way that being president isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Pence may soon get to learn the same harsh lesson. Contribute to Palmer Report


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Bill Palmer is the founder and editor in chief of the political news outlet Palmer Report




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5 Comments

  1. STEPHANIE MARTIN on May 14, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Mike Pence is the reason I do not want him impeached, my opinion, they all need to be gone, the ENTIRE administration

  2. Mark E Cooke on May 14, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Pence is 100 % completely dirty as Trump, Ryan and Mitchell. All 4 of them need to go down together.

    • Karen on June 25, 2017 at 1:30 am

      I like-that! I think Pence is just as guilty

  3. Sandy Reeves on May 14, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    I am beyond happy from what I was just reading and thank you to James Comey and the dept of the FBI AND TO YOU MR. PALMER FOR LAYING THIS OUT SO BEAUTIFULLY!
    I am a Canadian and have been following your politics for the last 25 years!
    Just think with all of this going on he didn’t have a clue of what was what and who was who he didn’t even know who he was.
    I watched with great interest even watching his gawd awful rallies what he said and how it was said and I tried to drop hints on a news web page to let you guys know what this idiot was up to.
    Please check Jared out as he is just as crooked and even more so than you think! I did not see his name
    mentioned, but just want to reiterate he has made many deals with China as has Ivanka!
    The drumph boys were too stupid to keep their mouths shut and I had read an article from Jr. that he went to Russia and got 50,000 for giving a speech! Eric even said how great nepotism was as they made way more money! Baby daddy thought he couldn’t get into trouble as he was president and nothing applied to him! Boy was he wrong! Again thank you so much and please thank Jim Comey for me your dedication and hard work paid off and I am ever so thankful!

  4. ThinkAboutWhat'sGoingOn on May 28, 2017 at 2:14 am

    Now wouldn’t this be a fun ending — Trump is confronted with what’s happening and complete exposure. So – no – he’s not asked to resign. He’s as to fire Pence as VP, install Hillary — and THEN resign. Hillary cleans out the entire cabinet and sweeps the White House for bugs. (There – we fixed it…:)

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