We’ve talked at length about Donald Trump’s failings. Numerous op-eds about his in your face rhetoric, the misplaced bravado on topics he knows nothing about – though we should – but what about the vice president waiting stoically in the wings?
He’s almost the polar opposite to the POTUS. Pence is measured, has political experience, impressive connections and, most importantly to the conservative right-wing, he has deep, unwavering Catholic beliefs – something the president often pokes fun at.
A staff member from Trump’s campaign told The New Yorker that whenever people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, he’d ask them: “Did Mike make you pray?”
But in a more terrifying, typically Trump, fashion, his trivialisation of Pence’s religiosity speaks volumes to how he runs America.
A legal scholar said that if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a mission of Pence, many states would likely just legalise 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.”
The conversation then turned to gay rights and, according to The New Yorker, Trump joked “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
Over the weekend, Trump spoke at anti-LGBT event which is hosted by the Family Research Council – a group which has been classified as a hate group.
He was the first president to do so.
“By appearing at the Values Voter Summit, President Trump is lending the legitimacy of his office to a hate group that relentlessly demonizes LGBT people and works to deny them of their equal rights," Richard Cohen, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, told The Independent.
"His appearance puts the lie to his campaign promise to be a friend to the LGBT community. Bigotry is not an American value, and our president should speak out against it.”
Trump’s casual belittling of Pence’s extreme beliefs is scary – we all saw what happened to the last guy we took as a joke when he ran for a position of power – but the fact Pence’s influence is trickling into Trump’s decisions is even more terrifying.
Although for now Pence is playing what historian Joel K Goldstein describes as the “Sycophant-in-Chief”, is his measured, calm presence just an act to bide his time until Trump’s impeached?
If Pence truly thinks we should hang all gays, maybe we should hope Trump stays in office… who thought we’d ever say that?