Mike Pence has spent the past year trying to walk a rather dangerous tightrope. On the one hand, large chunks of Donald Trump’s base despise him, and in fact some of them tried to murder him on January 6th. On the other hand, Pence has no political audience outside of Trump’s base, so he’s tried to avoid getting further on Trump supporters’ bad side. After all, who else is going to buy his pro-Trump books?
The trouble for Mike Pence is that he was in fact the target of a treasonous plot to murder the Vice President of the United States, and the rest of us aren’t going to let him just act like it never happened so he can sell books to Trump’s base. To that end, the January 6th Committee is now putting him on deck.
Committee Chair Bennie Thompson is now telling CNN that the committee wants to hear from Mike Pence about his experiences on January 6th. Pence will naturally want to go to great lengths not to participate, because his testimony would make Trump and his base look terrible, which would erase whatever limited political viability Pence still might have. But if the committee is squeezing Pence in this regard, he’ll look terrible if he doesn’t participate.
Here’s one quote from Thompson about Mike Pence that stands out: “We’d like to know what his security detail told him was going on.” The implication seems to be that if Pence isn’t willing to speak, the committee will merely get (or already has gotten) that information from those around him. It was reported last month that Pence’s Chief of Staff Marc Short has been extensively cooperating with the committee. It’s all going to come out one way or the other. Pence just has to choose whether he wants to come clean, or whether he wants to look bad for refusing to help it all come out.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report