I keep getting this image of Mike Pence slowly backing towards an exit, in my mind’s eye.
If not outright making a dash for the door, Vice President Pence is at least working to put a respectable distance between himself and the Trump campaign shenanigans that are currently keeping headlines hot.
With Russia fever encompassing all of the Trump White House, it seems, Pence wants no part of it, to the point that he has sent a spokesperson out to make that clear.
“The answer is no. The vice president had no meetings with individuals associated with the Russian government during the campaign or the transition,” Marc Lotter told CNN.
The denial comes after Lotter said Wednesday he was “unaware” of any meetings in an appearance on Fox News, but did not definitively say that none took place.
Lotter explained that his earlier comments on Fox were out of caution.
He was asked three times by Fox News’ Bill Hemmer if there were any undisclosed Pence meetings with Russians (I’m assuming Russians of any stripe, at this point).
“Just to nail this down so we’re clear, is that a yes or a no? Did he or did he not, and was it relevant in fact?” Hemmer asked.
“I am not aware of anything that I have seen. All of the focus that I saw with Vice President Pence during the campaign has been focused on working the agenda that the people sent him to Washington to accomplish. That’s what the vice president is doing,” he said.
And to be PERFECTLY CLEAR – all that stuff between a Kremlin-linked lawyer and Donald Trump Junior – that was pre-Pence.
“I joined this campaign in the summer, and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and associates was with the American people. We were fully engaged with taking his message to make America great again all across this country. That’s why he won in a landslide election,” he told Fox News days before the inauguration in January 2017.
Pence wasn’t selected to be Trump’s running mate until July 2016, so a month after Trump Jr’s meeting.
You have to wonder about VP Pence’s stress level, right now. It seems like there was a lot going on during the campaign that he didn’t know about.
National security adviser Michael Flynn was let go only three weeks into the new administration, when it was found that he misled Pence about contact he’d had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Pence went out and declared Flynn’s innocence, only to be proven wrong.
Since that time, things have only gotten worse, and it appears Pence wants to do all he can to keep his hands clean of this.