The Trump Complex: Pence

Sam King talks about Vice-President-Elect: Mike Pence.

Mr Pence is the wingman of the new President-Elect. He has had ten years of experience as a member of Congress (2001-2011), with six years as Governor of Indiana (since 2013). This gives him the knowledge of Washington and connections (mainly in the House of Representatives) that Trump lacks and needs. Randy Neugebauer a Republican lawmaker who worked with Pence in Congress says,”What he will help president-elect Trump do is move his legislative agenda forward. There are going to be big lifts that the president-elect has promised during his campaign. Mike knows how that process works and he has a great relationship with members [of Congress]”. During the majority of Pence’s time as a member of Congress he was chair of the Congressional Republican Conference (2001-2009) which gives him influence amongst Republicans. One of the key contacts that  Pence has is with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan; since Trump has strained relations with Ryan this will be an important contact.

The support that Trump received from evangelical voters (80%) was due in large part  to the beliefs of Pence. He is intensely conservative and a religious evangelical. He is a supporter of the Republican Tea Party ideology, which was formed in 2008 after the election of President Obama to oppose healthcare reform and taxes. Pence showed what his policy beliefs were, when he was Governor of Indiana. During his time there he implemented tax cuts and reduced spending by supporting market reforms in education policy. His conservative beliefs were preached openly when he enacted conservative religious laws including the hot topics of abortion and gay rights.

Mike Pence is going to be one of the most important Vice-Preidents in historyDavid Gergen

The question that everyone wants to know is what kind of relationship will Trump and Pence have? When we look back on history we have lots of different examples. Will we see a Joe Biden model 2, Obama’s dedicated lieutenant, or will it be Dick Cheney scenario, where Pence is pulling the puppet strings on Mr Trump? David Gergen, an advisor to four presidents who is now at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, has shone some light on the matter. He says ”There is no question that Mike Pence is going to be one of the most important vice presidents in history”, he added “I don’t think we are looking at a Dick Cheney-George Bush type relationship. Pence is more reluctant to advance his views [than] Cheney, and will see his role more as being the number two.” We have already been shown some evidence of Pence trying to heal wounds that Trump has created. We have all heard of how Trump hates China, and how they have been ripping the USA off. Pence swiftly courted Chinese investments as a pro-trade advocate and supported all trade deals between China and the USA that Trump has scorned.

Trump and Pence hold different religious beliefs and Pence is more socially conservative (for example, opposing  gay rights). The two men have some policy disagreement: for instance Pence disagrees with Trump’s statement about banning all Muslims form the United States. However, as many individual have said, it is unlikely that Trump will follow through with this and other big bold statements, as they were mainly to gain voter support by expressing  Islamophobia. In common  to most Republicans, Pence supported the invasion of Iraq, Trump however, disagreed with this. However, it is clear that there is immense trust in their relationship; and Pence is already doing some of the behind the scenes work for Trump as he has been the important position of running the transition team. This prepares the White House for the new President.

Now we are on a knife-edge for the next four years. History has shown us that Vice-Presidents can become Presidents, for example through impeachment (Gerald Ford, succeeding Richard  Nixon) or election (George H Bush succeeding Ronald Reagan) or assassination (Lyndon Johnson stepping into John Kennedy’s seat). All we must do now is wait and see what this relatively unknown man has to show us.