Trump and Pence: “A perfect storm of GOP extremism”

It doesn’t really matter who among the three men on his short list Donald Trump picks for vice president. They’re all interchangeable members of the right wing gang who run the Republican Party.

Yet Trump is milking his decision-making for all the media attention he can get.

He told Republican leaders he had chosen Mike Pence, former radio talk show host and Indiana’s tea party governor. Then Trump made sure this was leaked to the media. At the same time, he told the media he hasn’t decided.

Then he said he’ll announce his decision today.

Then he said he’ll postpone his announcement.

All three guys on Trump’s short list are long time, anti-worker Republican hacks. Included is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who was forced to resign after being reprimanded for an ethics violation. And there’s New Jersey Governor Chris Christie whose approval rating has sunken lower than the underwater foundation of the George Washington Bridge, where he caused a massive traffic jam to get back at a local mayor.

And then there’s Pence, who bragged “I was Tea Party before it was cool.”

Yesterday, citing sources within the Republican Party and the Trump campaign, TV reporters announced that Trump had chosen Pence as his running mate.

But, according to the New York Times, “After huddling with Mr. Pence in Indiana, flying multiple other candidates to Indianapolis for last-minute interviews, hinting to party leaders that his decision had been made … Mr. Trump insisted that he had not settled on a running mate yet. ‘I haven’t made my final, final decision,’ he told Fox News.”

He said he would reveal his decision today, Friday July 15.

Then he announced he has postponed his announcement.

He cited the horrific tragedy in Nice, France. Some 80 people were killed when a truck drove into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.

If Trump is setting aside his campaign to show sympathy for others, it will be a first. More likely, he is setting aside the public announcement of his vice presidential choice in hopes investigators will discover that the killings were a terrorist attack so that he can get more airtime to spew more hate.

In any case, although according to the New York Times, “Republican Party leaders caution their mercurial candidate could backtrack,” right now it appears that Pence is Trump’s top choice.

Pence couldn’t be more pleased. Indiana native and political observer Craig Fehrman wrote in the Los Angeles Times, that “lately it looks like Pence might not even win a second term as governor …

“Surely there’s a better future for vice presidential nominees, even losing ones, than there is for defeated incumbent governors.”

Hoosiers have good reasons for wanting Pence gone.

For example, during his governorship, Indiana experienced a devastating HIV outbreak, which was made worse by the closure of a Planned Parenthood clinic that was the only HIV testing center in one county. The clinic had closed due to Pence’s cuts to Planned Parenthood’s funding.

Furthermore, since he became governor in 2013, he has signed multiple anti-abortion bills into law, including a measure that prohibits private insurance providers from offering abortion coverage. Last March, Pence signed one of the worst anti-abortion omnibus bills in the U.S. Among other things, it requires doctors to offer women the “remains” of the fetus after an abortion. 

Then there was Pence’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which made it easier for private businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community.

The law was so blatant in its bias, organizations and businesses across the U.S. threatened to boycott Indiana. Pence “clarified” the bill a bit, but not before Indiana’s economy suffered.

Many things Pence did to the people of Indiana were inexcusable, but perhaps the worst was his killing an application for $80 million in federal funding for pre-K education, which kept thousands of kids from a chance at a better start in life.

He has back peddled somewhat and is now chasing after some federal pre-K funds, but the damage has been done.

Pence began his slash-and-burn career as a U.S. Representative. In 2011, he wrote the first bill to strip all federal funds from Planned Parenthood and threatened to shut down the government if he did not get his way.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told Politico at the time that she had never seen a legislator go after the organization with as much intensity as Pence. “He’s the only one I know of who has been so completely obsessed with Planned Parenthood,” she said.”

Also in 2011, Pence cosponsored the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act, a bill that would have required abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking abortion, regardless of whether it was medically necessary, and then describe the embryo in detail to her. He also cosponsored a bill that would have essentially redefined rape, prohibiting federal funds from paying for abortion except in cases of “forcible rape,” and a bill that would allow hospitals to deny abortions to pregnant women who would die without the care. 

“Pence has a rich history of marginalizing women, … the same way Donald Trump has throughout his career and this campaign,” said Marcy Stech, a spokesperson for the pro-choice EMILY’s List. “Together, they are a perfect storm of classic, out of touch, GOP extremism.”

Naturally, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both think Pence walks on water.

“It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Mike Pence’s,” said Ryan. “We’re very good friends. I have a very high regard for him.”

McConnell said that he would “look forward to enthusiastically supporting a [Trump-Pence] ticket.”

“What Donald Trump gets with Mike Pence as VP is a yes man,” writes Fehrman in the L.A. Times.

“As a connoisseur of power, Trump must understand Pence’s motives. But he also must know that those motives make Pence an ideal partner: He’ll do what he’s told, even if it contradicts his actual beliefs, just so long as it’s good for the career of Mike Pence.

Photo: Trump and Pence.  |  Michael Conroy/AP


CONTRIBUTOR

Larry Rubin
Larry Rubin

Larry Rubin has been a union organizer, a speechwriter and an editor of union publications. He was a civil rights organizer in the Deep South and is often invited to speak on applying Movement lessons to today's challenges. He has produced several folk music shows.

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