November 15, 2022 Wayne Northey

Comments on: Loyal to “God” and Trump, Mike Pence Defends His Record

In “So Help Me God,” the former vice president looks back on his career with one eye on where it might be headed.

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Jennifer SzalaiBy Jennifer Szalai

Nov. 14, 2022

image above: Donald Trump presenting Mike Pence as his running mate at a campaign event in New York City on July 15, 2016.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

SO HELP ME GOD | By Mike Pence | Illustrated | 542 pp. | Simon & Schuster | 2022

WN: Oh the human capacity for vast self-delusion . . . One must also ask in response to the title:

Which ‘god’?” “Whose Christ?

As in Jesus’ words, Matthew 24:

23At that time, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible. 25See, I have told you in advance.

And look, here is one!:

Illustration above by Brian Reedy. Think of the illustration in conjunction with this hugely ironic quote, one that said far more about Christian Nationalist sentiment than the good reverend knew: “We put God right at the center of the White House.” —Paula White, speaking at an Evangelicals for Trump event at Solid Rock Church, Ohio, March 6, 2020

Please see as well, by Tim Alberta, November 15, 2022: Mike Pence Refuses to Connect the Dots. The author bends over backwards to give Pence his due; to be fair to him; and displays great consternation that such a “fine man” could continue to be so deluded. He wants to take Pence at his word! To accept his constant avowal that he is a Christ-follower. But . . .

Tragically, the first line quoted in the article below–from Trump’s own mouth–seemingly sums up everything there is humanly (God knows, however!–and there is no end of hope) to know of the man! What an utterly lost soul! Now please read the ultimate description of what “God’s man” pace a vast throng of White American Evangelicals–should/did (The God-Man) exhibit:

One in Christ (Philippians 2)

1Therefore if you have any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being united in spirit and purpose.

3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

The Mind of Christ

5Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus:

6Who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
7but emptied Himself,taking the form of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself
even death on a cross.

9Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place
and gave Him the name above all names,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Please now read on from the above article:

Trump’s approach to governance was shaped by vanity and self-interest. But Pence refuses to connect those dots.

“If it gives you power,” Trump asked Pence, “why would you oppose it?”

The anecdote speaks to what makes Pence’s book utterly captivating—and equally unsatisfying.

Pence surely has thoughts on Trump beyond the book’s carefully crafted, made-for-promotional-material talking points, but he won’t give them to us.

And yet, the book is also singularly frustrating, tortured in its appraisal of so many history-making moments and reluctant to reflect meaningfully on the author’s view of them.

Trump did not get the message, but you wouldn’t know it from Pence’s recollection of the following four years, which speeds past so much of Trump’s hateful, deceptive, dehumanizing commentary but stops often to dwell on Pence’s own persecution at the hands of the Democratic Party.

Here, the vice president hopes the reader will be as shocked and horrified as he was. The problem is, Trump’s egomaniacal fixation on thwarting a peaceful transition of power is not some anomaly to be understood in a vacuum; rather, it is the continuation of a long pattern of selfishness, deception, and even treachery that long foretold such a crisis. That it took Pence four years—or, in this case, 446 pages—to reach the startling conclusion that the president cares more about himself than about the country robs the book of the visceral authenticity that flashes throughout the opening and closing passages.

. . . it is fair to expect that he would at least acknowledge the moral dilemma that gripped many Christians who observed Trump only from afar.

It was widely understood that Pence, a scripture-annotating family man from southern Indiana, has little in common with the Manhattan playboy turned president. Because of the literally violent nature of their falling out, it was fair to wonder whether Pence, who had been insistent on keeping their disagreements private, might finally provide an open, honest assessment of the totality of Trump’s presidency.

Still, the extent to which Pence portrays Trump as a martyr, a good and virtuous man who suffered gallantly for the sake of his supporters, makes his lecturing of the left ring hollow.

Pence believes I’ve unfairly picked on him, holding him to a higher standard than I have other people in Trump’s orbit. The second thing is: I have. Why? Because I believe that unlike so many other Trump associates—Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn—Pence is a decent human being. (Any number of high-profile Democrats, including Joe Biden and the late Representative John Lewis, have said the same.) The former vice president isn’t another craven, self-indulgent schemer bent on domination; he’s a humble, civil person who takes his faith seriously and knows the difference between right and wrong.

But in writing such a selectively edited history of the Trump era, Pence has done exactly the opposite: He focuses almost exclusively on the positives of those four years and declines to validate any of the trepidation Americans felt long before the Capitol was overrun on January 6.

At the very least, because Pence orients much of the book around his Christian faith—assigning scriptural subtitles to each of the 52 chapters, plus the epilogue—it is fair to expect that he would at least acknowledge the moral dilemma that gripped many Christians who observed Trump only from afar.

That it took Pence four years—or, in this case, 446 pages—to reach the startling conclusion that the president cares more about himself than about the country robs the book of the visceral authenticity that flashes throughout the opening and closing passages.

But it’s also true that 10 House Republicans voted to impeach Trump after the attack on the Capitol, and that another seven Senate Republicans voted to convict and bar him from running for president again (another fact Pence does not mention).

“If it gives you power,” Trump asked Pence, “why would you oppose it?”

At the end of the review, the writer states trenchantly:

Pence deserves the gratitude of every American for his courage and conviction in that moment. Unfortunately . . .

Please read the whole article to see the powerful rejoinder.

Now please view the following excerpt from a much longer interview, November 14, by David Muir of ABC News. It is from an article by Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter, November 15, 2022: Pence calls Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 ‘reckless’ as GOP ponders different path in 2024. We read in it:

When asked by Muir what he thought of the fact that “the president was aware that people in that crowd, that some of them might have been armed” and urged them to “march to the Capitol” anyway, Pence responded, “the president’s words were reckless, and his actions were reckless.”

“The president’s words that day at the rally endangered me, my family and everyone at the Capitol,” Pence stressed.

Pence reiterated his characterization of Trump’s words as “reckless” after Muir read aloud one of the president’s tweets from the afternoon of Jan. 6, asserting that “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.” Muir suggested that Trump’s tweet led to a “response from rioters on the Hill” as footage of protesters chanting “hang Mike Pence” played onscreen.

After Muir noted that Pence spoke with many members of the administration on Jan. 6, he asked, “at any point on that day, on Jan. 6, as that was unfolding, did the president reach out to talk to you to ask you how were you doing, to check on your safety?” Pence replied: “I never heard from the president or the White House that day.”

Now excerpts from the interview:

Please see as well, by Egberto Willies | Community, November 21, 2022: Chuck Todd’s interview will haunt Mike Pence: Constitutional Rights for unborn & forced birth.

We read:

Chuck Todd typically gives Republicans a pass. To be sure, he was pretty soft on Pence, at least on the live portion of the interview; Pence had consulted former George HW Bush’s VP, Dan Quayle, about his ability to overturn the election. Pence had his foot in both camps. Ultimately, he did the right thing at the Capitol, but he weighed his options.

Chuck Todd was masterful in letting the former Vice President hang himself with a large percentage of the population. So what did Todd pull out of the former VP?

The former VP is adamant about his intent to ensure that abortion bans are national by passing state-by-state laws. Chuck asked the former VP if, as one who does not believe in invasive government if he supported the government forcing women to have a kid they do not want. The former VP did not jump onto the off-ramp Chuck Todd gave him. He did not budge. He would enforce the enslavement of women’s bodies.

Then please view:

Chuck Todd allowed Mike Pence to tag himself as anti-woman

Watch Politics Done Right T.V. here.

excerpts:

As much as Mike Pence likes to project an air of beatific calm, in his memoir, “So Help Me God,” the former vice president writes that even he has his breaking point: “They never gave any thought to the anxiety they were causing the American people, the damage they were doing to our institutions and the credibility of our elections.”

The “they” in this instance aren’t the right-wing rioters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, erecting a gallows and chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” Pence is referring here to “the collusion crowd,” which kept talking about Russian interference in the 2016 election — liberals like the MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow.

It’s a nifty bit of whataboutism from Pence, who tries his hardest in this memoir to have it all ways at once. Even when he does castigate the Trump supporters who called for his head, he repeatedly describes Trump as “my friend.” This fondness for someone who egged on the mob that threatened to kill him is an especially degrading form of self-abasement that’s embarrassing to watch.

Some of Pence’s contortions are so elaborate that they’re worthy of Cirque du Soleil.

But he also knew that doing his duty “would be hurtful to my friend.” The bulk of “So Help Me God” is given over to tracing his relationship with Trump, much of it in minute yet obfuscating detail. At around 500 pages, Pence’s book, like other memoirs by establishment Republicans who threw their lot in with the Trump administration, is exceedingly long — perhaps because he realizes at some level that he has a lot of explaining to do.

But since he did certify the election, he has to find a way to placate the Trump supporters he’ll inevitably need [if wishing to lead the GOP], especially because his own political inclinations — favoring corporate interests along with extreme religiosity — aren’t all that appealing to the American public.

Not that Pence’s explanations amount to much more than self-serving spin . . . Trump is otherwise depicted as somebody who was unfailingly dedicated to the highest office. Any scandal is dismissed as a nothingburger cooked up by “the woke left” and “the media.” Sure, Trump could say all kinds of weird, aggressive things, but Pence presents this coarse rhetoric as part of a grand strategy. He was playing good cop to Trump’s bad cop. “I was prepared to deliver a firm message in my low-key manner,” he writes. “It was Trump’s job to bring the thunder.”

Pence, who presided over the White House’s troubled coronavirus task force, is relentlessly upbeat, despite a pandemic death toll of more than 377,000 Americans by the end of 2020. “I know we saved millions of lives,” he insists, ignoring ample evidence to the contrary. “The nightmare scenarios facing our health care system never came to pass. Only in America.

Besides, Pence tells us, everything is part of God’s plan. “I believe that Providence put President Trump behind that desk,” he writes. Pence’s own role was similarly preordained. “You know,” he recalls telling Trump, “I believe God put me next to you to help you become successful.”

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