“Hang Mike Pence!” Donald Trump incited the mob from the Capitol to his loyal number two. The angry Vice President should now dump Trump early. Does he play along?
When the mob stirred up by Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol, he went in search of two people. Dozens of rioters stormed the office of Nancy Pelosis, Democratic spokeswoman for the House of Representatives.
In addition to the well-known Trump opponent, it was also against a very fresh enemy image. The mob chanted on the doors of the convention building: “Hang Mike Pence!” A gallows was also set up near the Capitol. Also inside the Capitol, as reported by several eyewitnesses, chaos shouted again and again last Wednesday: “Where’s Mike Pence?” The Trump mob had its own vice president in its sights.
It was unthinkable just a few weeks ago that it could become the target of Trump’s supporters.
Loyal, undeterred and then released for shooting
Pence served the President as the loyal number two, careful not to upset his boss, covered him in numerous scandals. But over the past two weeks, Trump and his remaining allies have made Pence a step-by-step scapegoat if the attempt to challenge the presidential election fails. Trump personally incited the mob on the loyal vice.
Trump’s betrayal of Pence is the most serious of his presidency. The vice, in turn, is now faced with an ultimatum to declare the boss incapable of doing business by means of the 25th amendment to the constitution and thus to remove him before the end of his term of office. If he doesn’t, the Democrats urge Trump to be charged with a second impeachment.
What does Mike Pence do after Trump’s betrayal?
A strange couple
It is the dramatic break of a team that worked closely together for four and a half years. They were a strange couple from the start. Here Trump, the twice divorced bon vivant who was said to have had an affair with a porn actress. There the pious pence, who had made it a rule never to dine alone with a woman who was not his wife, or only to appear with his wife at events where alcohol is served.
Pence secured Trump in 2016 the important group of voters of the evangelicals – one reason for the surprising election victory. Once in office, Trump again granted the religious right election gifts, such as anti-abortion opponents in important judicial posts.
Washington’s most ardent flatterer
Pence not only remained obsequiously by Trump’s side after every scandal and abuse of power, he also took on numerous unpleasant tasks for the president, such as managing the corona crisis.
Always at your service: Pence with the Trump couple at the party conference in August 2020. (Source: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
In public appearances, the former governor of the state of Indiana always poured praise on the president. Candlestick, with snow-white hair, Pence was often a little diagonally behind Trump. When he spoke, he never forgot to pay tribute to Trump’s “leadership” and “incomparable achievements”. He became its most ardent flatterer. It stayed that way from year to year, from affair to affair.
Pence’s hope and expectation was that he would have Trump’s support in the future if he wanted to become president himself.
The dramatic break only occurred in the second half of December. After all lawsuits and appeals against the election defeat as well as threats against electoral officials in states had failed, Trump set his sights on January 6th: He saw one last chance to turn his defeat around.
Pence as a scapegoat
The purely ritual confirmation of the election results from the states in Congress would be chaired by Pence in his second function as Senate President. Trump and his whisperers fantasized that Pence could hold up the process and simply disregard the tight state votes that Biden won. According to the constitution, Pence does not have the option, but they still came under fire in private and public.
Behind closed doors, Trump put his number two under pressure again and again. According to the New York Times, Pence had to defend his stance that his hands were tied in a meeting with lawyers appointed by Rudy Giuliani.
“You are, Mike!”
Pence was also shot at in public, in an unbounded way. Attorney Lin Wood, who had failed to contest Trump’s defeat in court, tweeted on Jan. 3 that Pence should be shot by firing squad.
Trump himself put Pence under pressure in several tweets. Still on the morning of the fateful January 6th, he tweeted, “All Mike Pence has to do is send (the votes) back to the states, AND WE WILL WIN. Do it Mike, this is the time for extreme courage!” “
When he was encouraging supporters in a speech near the White House shortly before the Capitol storming, Trump said, “Mike Pence has to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, it will be a sad day for our country because they swear to defend the constitution. “
“Blinded by rage”
Trump turned his vice president into an alleged constitutional breaker within a few days. At 2:24 p.m., when the mob had long since moved through the Capitol, Trump tweeted that Mike Pence “did not have the courage” to protect the country and the constitution. By then, Pence was at the Capitol with security guards on the run from the mob.
Mob in the US Capitol: shouts of “Hang Mike Pence!” (Source: Ahmed Gaber / Reuters)
Trump did not call him during the siege. Pence was reportedly “beside himself with anger”. Conservative Senator Jim Inhofe reported that number two had complained bitterly about Trump’s behavior. “I’ve never seen him so angry,” Inhofe told his local newspaper. “After all the things I’ve done!” A constrained Vice President is said to have said about Trump in the presence of Inhof.
Pence dutifully fulfilled his role, as he had previously announced. He carried out the confirmation of the election results in the night and finally announced Joe Biden as the rightful winner of the presidential election at 3:40 a.m. For this he received praise from his political opponents.
Pence and the 25th Amendment
But when Democrat Pelosi wanted to ask him on the phone to wrest power from Trump by means of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, Pence did not take her call.
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And now? The Democrats have officially given Pence an ultimatum: 25th Amendment, otherwise the impeachment will come on Wednesday. Pence is silent and has not indicated that he would be ready to take this step – he would have to gather a majority in the cabinet behind him.
Most Democrats secretly do not expect Pence Trump to actually dismiss. There will probably be impeachment.
The rift with Trump should not be repaired. Like Trump, Pence went underground for days. On Monday evening, the two are said to have spoken to each other for the first time since the storm. Pence wants to keep his own candidacy open in 2024, it is said in his environment.
While Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson in 1869 to skip the inauguration of his successor, Pence will return to the Capitol on January 20. He will be there when Joe Biden is sworn in, ending the presidency that Pence so zealously defended until his own president betrayed him.