Thursday, October 03, 2019

Vice President Pence: Out of the Loop, But in the Soup

The piety of a willing tool
The blindness that comes from piety!

Even as evidence mounts that Vice President Pence has been fully involved in Twitterman's pressure campaign on Ukraine to squeeze out some juicy dirt on Joe Biden, Mike Pence has begun channeling Sergeant Schultz. "I never knew..., I never read..., I never heard.... In short, I know nothing!" It's now become his badge of Christian honor to declare that he was out of the loop (a place where a lot of other officials in the Trump administration wish they resided).

Trump had been planning to send Pence to Ukrainian President Zelensky's inauguration in May, then abruptly instructed him not to go, denying the new president the symbolic blessing of the highest echelons of the Trump administration. The pressure campaign was underway.

On July 25th, Trump delivered his "I need a favor" demand to Zelensky when the latter mentioned his desire for anti-tank missles. Trump withheld the military aid, waiting for the favor, then sent Pence to meet Zelensky on September 1 in Warsaw to pound in that spike a little deeper. With great rueful piety (we feel sure), Pence informed Zelensky that hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine was not going to be released "amid concerns about the country’s lagging efforts to combat corruption" (Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe, and Ashley Parker).

Do you think Zelensky didn't know what "corruption" referred to in that context, especially given Trump's spelling it out in the July 25th phone call?

Do you think Pence didn't understand the message he was delivering?

Pence wants you to think he's a pious idiot, in which event you should also think him totally unworthy to hold any public office, let alone the office of Vice President in charge of delivering Trump messages.

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