'Traitor' Pence's First Attempt to Unify MAGA and Traditional Conservatives Doesn't Go Well

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

As anyone with a modicum of knowledge about the state of Trump-Pence in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election — more specifically, after January 6, 2021 — is well aware, the above headline alone is enough to send some people into hyperbolic histrionics.

That said, my purpose is not to relitigate it, here. Nor to engage in a pissing contest. I will state relevant facts, not only as I understand them but also as I have had confirmed by constitutional scholars with zero axes to grind. As to those who do want to participate in the predictable circular argument, knock yourselves out — but please don’t break the furniture.

First, the relevant news — via The Washington Times.

Former Vice President Mike Pence has his work cut out for him when it comes to fusing former President Donald Trump’s MAGA movement with a more traditional brand of conservatism.

The massive challenge in front of him was on display Friday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition “Road to Majority” conference in Orlando where his introductory remarks were interrupted by shouts of “traitor!” from a small group of hecklers.

It has been clear that some diehard Trump supporters have yet to forgive Mr. Pence for refusing to take the unprecedented step as a vice president of refusing to allow Congress to certify the Electoral College vote in favor of President Biden — an authority that most constitutional scholars say he did not possess.

Was Pence shocked? Of course, not.

Iowa-based GOP strategist Craig Robinson told The Washington Times that Pence was in a tough spot before he went to Florida — particularly as it relates to the field of potential 2024 Republican presidential contenders. Including the potential elephant in the room.

“I think that is a really tough spot for him to be in. You already see some of the most fervent activists don’t want anything to do with him — almost like he is a traitor. So you are going to have that drumbeat, and on the other hand, he is going to be competing with newer fresher people.”

As most of us recall, prior to January 6, Trump publicly and repeatedly pressured Pence to “do the right thing” and “send it back to the states.” Pence refused, saying in a letter at the time that he lacked the “unilateral authority” to do so. Per The Washington Times:

“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”

A “plethora” of Constitutional scholars on both sides of the political aisle agreed. The first time I suggested Trump’s demand was “unconstitutional,” all hell broke loose. A commenter shot back at me, “John Adams and Thomas Jefferson would disagree with you.” I responded, simply and correctly: “Yes they would. And they would be wrong. Today.”

As I said at the top, my purpose is not to relitigate the “disloyalty” of Mike Pence. Besides, as with most political “debates,” nobody changes anybody else’s mind. But I will suggest that those who disagree with me look into the 12th Amendment and the Elector Count Act of 1887— and if applicable, try to leave political biases off to the side.

Yet?

“Hang Mike Pence” trended on Twitter, shortly after “traitor” Mike Pence apparently committed “treason” against the United States, Donald Trump, or both — for which, wingnut Lin Wood promptly predicted the Vice President of the United States would be arrested and executed by firing squad. Anyway, back to reality.

Team Pence obviously tried to downplay the heckling and charges of “treason.” And as The Washington Times noted, Pence earlier this month addressed his disagreement with Trump over the events of January 6 at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in Manchester, New Hamshire, where he “received rousing applause from the attendees”:

“As I said that day, Jan. 6 was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol, but thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement violence was quelled, the Capitol was secured and that same day we reconvened Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

“You know President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office, and I don’t know if we will ever see eye to eye on that day, but I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years, and I will not allow Democrats and or their allies in the media to use one tragic day to discredit the aspirations of millions of Americans.”

The former vice president avoided the subject on Friday, telling attendees that serving with Trump was the “greatest honor of my life,” calling on conservative activists to fight against Biden and the radical left, and touting the accomplishments of the “Trump-Pence administration.” Excerpts, as transcribed by the Washington Examiner.

“For the past four years President Trump taught us what Reps can accomplish when we stand firm on conservative principles and don’t back down,” he said. “It was four years of promises made, and promises kept.”

Pence also commented on how far Biden has been pushed by the radical left.

“It is amazing to think in 2020 Joe Biden actually campaigned as a moderate, but he has governed as one of the most liberal presidents in American history. I want to tell you from my heart I was out on that campaign trail, and I don’t believe for one moment that’s what the American people voted for in 2020.

“They did not vote for open borders, rampant crime or giving away our prosperity, our freedom or future. So the time is now for freedom-loving patriots here and across the nation to come together and unite behind our proven agenda and win America back.”

One thing is certain. The 2024 Republican presidential field promises to be strong — with a deep bench. Unlike some, I do not profess to be omniscient nor to “know more than anyone else” — particularly this early. But I will say this. If I were forced to bet, I’d give the early nod to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — with whom I’d be just fine. And Donald Trump? I’ve said for six months and I’ll say it again: I do not believe he’ll run.

Disagree? Only time will tell.