For a number of reasons, many progressives and members of the self-styled ‘resistance’ against Donald Trump have come to the conclusion that it would be preferable – if not entirely desirable – if Mike Pence replaced big Donny as President. The general rationalisation is that while Pence might be insanely conservative, he’d nonetheless run the government more effectively than Trump.
Of course, if you’re a progressive person, the idea of someone who is able to competently deploy the machinery of the state towards sharply right-wing ends should probably scare you more than the abject shitshow Trump is administering. At least Trump’s general incompetence and lack of curiosity about the actual functions of the U.S. government act as a barrier.
If you needed any reminder about this shit, the New Yorker have published a very long piece from Jane Meyer named ‘The Danger of President Pence’, which provides a bit of a biography of Pence and an outline of his extreme views – many of which are substantially to the right of Trump himself.
But there’s one tidbit everyone is talking about today – a previously unreported anecdote about how Trump frequently needles Pence about his particular brand of fundamentalist Christianity and his extreme opinions on things like homosexuality and abortion.
A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, “Did Mike make you pray?” Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. “You see?” Trump asked Pence. “You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.” When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
As you might imagine, people are taking some umbrage towards the fact that a) Trump would think the murder of LGBT people is a rich vein of comedy; and b) the fact that the joke might – even if it was mostly ironic – bely some rather more extreme opinions on gay people than Pence has publicly let on.
Trump joked that Pence wants to hang gay people. Somehow, as with so much else, this will barely make a ripple. https://t.co/9ItD1VVmRJ pic.twitter.com/1BFIDP9VxT— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) October 16, 2017
We can't let Trump or Pence get away with his comment on Pence wanting to hang gay people. Media, step up. Don't allow it to go unchecked.— Jena Friedman (@JenaFriedman) October 17, 2017
Not sure what's more disturbing, that Donald would joke about such a thing or that he would pick a man with these views as his number 2. https://t.co/IXxW0mT5Sd— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 16, 2017