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Donald Trump and those around him have made a long series of mistakes stemming from his campaign's contacts with Russians and subsequent inquiries into the matter, which raise the real possibility of his impeachment. But none of those compares to his biggest blunder: choosing Mike Pence as his running mate.
Pence is in a delicate position, which may be why he is seldom seen or heard from these days. On the one hand, his job as vice president obligates him to be a loyal member of the administration. On the other, he needs to maintain good relations with congressional Republicans, many of whom find Trump exasperating.
Pence - Sign - Trump - Agenda - Boss
Pence has to give every sign of appearing to support Trump in advancing his agenda, lest his boss turn on him. That means cheerfully endorsing the nonsense that flows nonstop from Trump's mouth, including brazen lies.
But Pence can't go too far. He needs to avoid being completely contaminated by a president who violates every norm of ethics, behaves like a stooge of Vladimir Putin and keeps wading deeper into a scandal that may bring indictments. Pence has to look loyal without making his toadyism too slavish.
Adaptability - Interests - Churchgoer - Casino - Magnate
Fortunately for him, he's blessed with great adaptability in advancing his interests. A sanctimonious churchgoer who could pair up with a casino magnate, adulterer and self-declared sexual assailant without alienating followers of Jesus is not to be underestimated.
Still, Pence has a tricky path to negotiate, as vice presidents serving unpopular presidents have often learned. Hubert Humphrey, once a darling of liberals, became their nemesis for refusing to break with President Lyndon Johnson on the Vietnam War and lost the 1968 election to Richard Nixon.
Al - Gore - Bill - Clinton - Monica
Al Gore defended Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal but criticized his behavior once the impeachment crisis was over. His association with Clinton was both too close...
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