Immediately after the January 6 uprising, a narrative emerged that Mike Pence was a kind of brave defender of democracy for his refusal to block the certification of Joe Bidenelectoral college victory. In fact, the most apt description of the former Vice President of the United States would have been something like “a guy who did the absolute bare minimum and, in fact, did his best to find a way to prevent Biden from becoming president in service to his master, Donald Trump.”
We know this because, among other things, Pence reportedly told reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa that he did “everything” he could to try to prevent the certification of the 2020 election, and pleaded with the former vice president Dan Quayle to help him determine if there was a way to success, telling Quayle, “You don’t know what position I’m in.” He also refused to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in the days following the insurgency and has since spent the past 22 months saying things like, “I don’t know if [Trump and I will] ever agree that day,” instead of “Donald Trump is a criminal and a traitor to democracy who should never again be allowed near the halls of power. Perhaps even more crucially, he voluntarily refused to cooperate with the House panel investigating Trump’s actions before, during and after Jan. 6.
But on Tuesday night, it became clear that not only would the much-predicted “red wave” not happen, but that many of Trump’s top candidates were going – as a language-savvy ex-president might put it – “ choke like a dog.” And that’s apparently when Pence decided it was safe to break up with his former boss.*
In an editorial adapted from his forthcoming memoirs in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, under the wacky headline “My Last Days With Donald Trump,” Pence says he repeatedly stood up to the 45th president in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, and that while he “fully supported the legal challenges of the electoral,” he clarified that he did not have the power to unilaterally decide which electoral votes should count and which should not. He also blames a TV ad from the Lincoln Project, a PAC formed in late 2019 to prevent Trump’s re-election, for putting the idea that he had such power in Trump’s head, writing:
Later, he suggests that he should probably receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the bravery and courage he displayed on January 6, saying things like: