Home Political News Mike Pence turns the key

Mike Pence turns the key


Mike Pence turns the key

People so often misread Mike Pence.

John Krull, publisher, TheStatehouseFile.com

They see the former vice president’s bland, open face, his stilted high-school-speech-star gestures upon the stage and his awkward emulations of former President Ronald Reagan and consider him as little more than a mannequin.

Because so many see him as a lightweight, even a blank slate, they feel free to project their fears and hopes onto him. That is why so many progressives have viewed him as the great theocratic threat to personal liberty and so many social conservatives as the untiring champion of their values.

He is neither.

Mike Pence always has been a politician, one with an insatiable ambition for advancement and an impeccable instinct for self-preservation.

He is, first and foremost, a survivor, a man who will find a way forward even when all paths seem closed to him. He will pull himself back onto his feet after he’s been knocked down, endure defeat after defeat as he staggers ahead in pursuit of his goal, never losing sight of what he wants.

He has the patience and the guile of the long-distance traveler.

The more rabid partisans of former President Donald Trump now are in an uproar over what they see as Pence’s betrayal of the man who “saved” the former Indiana governor’s career.

They fail to understand the situation in at least two critical ways.

The first is that Pence had no choice but to testify truthfully to what he saw and heard under oath once he had been legally compelled to do so. To do otherwise—to commit perjury—would have put Pence in at least as much trouble as Trump is in.

That’s not something Pence’s unswerving survivor’s instinct would allow him to do.

The second key way Trump supporters misunderstand the Trump-Pence relationship involves the question of obligation—of what the two men owe each other.

It is true that Trump spared Pence what likely would have been a humbling defeat in the 2016 Indiana governor’s race by placing Pence on the national ticket. Pence’s embrace of the misnamed Religious Freedom Restoration Act had soured Hoosier business leaders on his re-election campaign, many of whom either planned to sit the race out or even support his challenger, conservative Democrat John Gregg.

But the same thing that made Pence toxic to the business community in Indiana made him the darling of social conservatives nationwide—the very constituency in the Republican Party that Trump was struggling to attract. Pence delivered the religious right for Trump, which made a difference.

If Trump saved Pence from defeat in the Indiana governor’s race, Pence saved Trump from defeat in the 2016 presidential race.

They owed each other.

Only one of them, though, honored the obligation.

Pence spent four years rendering faithful and often personally degrading service to Trump, balking only when the former president leaned hard on him to break the law and risk imprisonment in a lost and lawless cause. That’s when Pence took the copious notes that now threaten Trump with imprisonment.

Trump honored his debt to the vice president who had helped put him in the White House by sending a mob to the U.S. Capitol screaming “Hang Mike Pence”—without even giving Pence a warning to clear his wife and family from the building.

In that complicated political relationship, it’s clear who betrayed whom.

It wasn’t Mike Pence.

In retrospect, it seems clear Pence sensed early on that his disastrous parting with Trump would be a possibility, even a likelihood.

Long before he took the notes that now imperil Trump, it is clear Pence was taking steps to protect himself.

In a Trump Oval Office that seemed to have as much traffic through it as a convenience store at a busy intersection, people wandering in and out as they pleased, frustrating and enraging one chief of staff after another, the vice president never seemed to be in the room when the most damaging, self-destructive presidential discussions and meetings took place.

The Pence instinct for self-preservation told the vice president to be elsewhere.

Now, as Donald Trump runs for president in a desperate attempt to avoid going to prison, it is Mike Pence who seems to hold a key to his jail cell.

So many people so often misread Mike Pence.

Donald Trump is one of them.

FOOTNOTE: John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. The views expressed are those of the author only and should not be attributed to Franklin College.

The City-County OBSERVER posted this article without bias, opinion, or editing.


  1. Not a bad review. Your comments are open minded than I have experienced.
    Two things to consider. First your comments were stil 50/50 Pence/Trump. Get over your Trump-phoebia. Second, Trump supports are not single minded. Most are heart-land conservative Americans. In fact, liberals (milabled as progressives) are far more singular minded than Trump supporters. Just try stepping out of the leberial Democrat corral and see who still loves you.

    • In fact, I think Krull described Pence and his motivations pretty darn well.

      Jerry, of course the liberal Democrats dislike Trump. What about Conservatives though?

      But true Conservatives (Republican Ronald Reagan was a conservative: believed in low taxes, strong national defense, small government, respect for the rule of law, and was an ardent anti-communist) do not find Trump conservative at all.

      I am not sure YOU are a conservative Republican, Jerry.
      What do you expect from your GOP leaders in governance, Jerry?

      (…aside from blind loyalty to whatever Trump wants. Which does not make you a Conservative, Sir)

  2. .
    Trump’s attacks on the Courts, on Judges, on the electoral process itself after his loss in 2020 – and a riot in Washington DC on the day of the Electoral College vote! Dangerous to the Country. Period. And now again in 2024? These are the scariest features of Trump.

    100% accurate: Trump is a flat-out threat to the democracy of the United States.

  3. This is all a lie the majority knows the truth and what these people are spreading are lies and they follow the fake news narrative you’re all liars done with the likes of all of you so called politicians both Republicans and Demorats

    • .
      Julie. Maybe you can help us?
      You are pretty insistent here? What is the lie? You do not say.

      Bigfoot is a lie?

      Or Trump?
      You think Trump won? That’s what you think?

      Which one? Bigfoot is real? Or that Trump won, is real?

  4. Trump denies he lost the election- and anything else in his life. His recent comments of the Biden administration being like that of Nazi Germany and “If you come after me, I’m coming after you” demonstrates to any sensible human being how incredibly mentally incapacitated he really is. Doubtful he’d even succeed in a prison rehabilitation program.

  5. Trump is a psychopath! He actually believes in his own lies! He thinks he’s God’s gift to our Country, oh and let’s not forget, women as well! I’ll be so thrilled when the day comes we never see him or hear his whiny voice! You Republicans can have him, Democrats have the common sense to know he’s trouble with a capital ‘T’ ! Hope you legally get what you rightfully deserve frumpy Trumpy!

  6. I call BS Pence had options and Trump was just asking him to count the electors. He could have , he didn’t. Even admitted it on TV the other day. Just because it’s never been done before…. Do you even know America’s political history. It’s very radical what certain Presidents and Presidential hopefuls did to each other. Pence is very dark. I call him Judas.

Comments are closed.