Scott Tibbs

The absurd attacks on Mike Pence need to stop

By Scott Tibbs, December 15, 2021

Eleven months after the fact, I am still seeing people on social media whine that Vice President Mike Pence "backstabbed" Donald Trump on January 6. But here is important background: According to a book by Bob Woodward Robert Costa, Pence inquired before January 6 if he had the authority to reject the electors in his role as President of the Senate. He pressed, and sought advice.

Pence ultimately determined he did not have that authority, and acted according to his principles. He knew that this was a unique moment in history and he had to do the right thing. Pence knew that he was blowing up his standing on the Right when he did so, and that he will never be President of these United States. Pence denied himself the chance to serve another four years as Vice President, which would have been a perfect setup to run for President in 2024. Pence knew the sacrifice he was making by not bowing to Trump's demands.

That is not backstabbing. That is integrity. There are very few people in politics with the integrity and character of Mike Pence. Trump does not come anywhere close to Pence in that regard.

Another thing: It actually is possible to think that Pence was wrong to not reject the electors but was also not corrupt and not a "backstabber." In our hyper-partisan age - where political tribalism is so intense it often veers into idolatry - that perspective is lost far too often. We can disagree, and we can think someone is wrong, without assuming moral depravity or cowardice or corruption or whatever other negative thing one can think of. People can be wrong and yet not immoral. But the same people condemning Pence's character would rebel against attacks on their own motives.

Now let me be clear: I do not think Pence was wrong. I think he did the right thing when he refused to reject the electors. But I also know people of integrity (which does not include Trump) who hold the opposite position. I think they are wrong on the merits of the issue, but I do not think they are immoral or corrupt or trying to stage a "coup" to overthrow the U.S. Government. They simply have a different opinion than I do, and they are sincere in holding that opinion.

Finally, Trump's total lack of loyalty and lack of gratitude toward Vice President Pence is utterly repulsive, especially after Pence repeatedly went into battle for Trump over the course of five years. Trump demands total loyalty from everyone around him, with no room for principled disagreement. But Trump will show no loyalty or gratitude in return if someone dares cross him, no matter what that person has done in the past. This is a selfish and childish way of thinking, and another reason Trump is not qualified to be the Republican Party's nominee for President in 2024.

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