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Trump has repeatedly humiliated and demeaned Mike Pence throughout the government shutdown fight

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Mike Pence sneer

President Donald Trump has orchestrated a government shutdown in order to secure funding for a border wall, and he doesn’t care if his tactics hurt the hundreds of thousands of government workers left without a job, the contractors who support the government, the families of these workers, or the people who depend on federal agencies and employees.

And amidst the fights and negotiations about the shutdown, it’s also clear that he doesn’t care what happens to Vice President Mike Pence.

He doesn’t care that, over the course of the fight, Pence is getting humiliated again and again on the sidelines.

It first started when Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer met with Trump and Pence in the Oval Office in the middle of December 2018. While Trump fulminated at the Democrats’ refusal to fund the wall — declaring at one point that he will be “proud” to own the coming shutdown — Pence simply sat there with nothing to say. His flat affect and complete inactivity next to the animated president led to widespread mocking.

Trump initially signaled that he would back a government funding bill without the wall money, sending Pence to tell Republicans in the Senate that he was on board, according to The Atlantic. But Trump later reversed himself in response to a backlash on conservative media, leaving Senate Republicans stunned and Pence looking powerless.

With the government shut down, Pence became a key emissary to the Democrats, and at one point proposed a compromise of only $2.5 billion in wall funding, according to NBC News — down from Trump’s original ask of $5 billion.

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But Trump pulled the rug out from under Pence, again. Democrats were skeptical about Pence’s offer to begin with, not believing that anyone but Trump speaks for Trump, according to NBC.

And right on cue, Trump obliterated Pence’s credibility, saying in a Cabinet meeting, “No, not $2.5 billion, no — we’re asking for $5.6 [billion.]”

Even as Pence was holding negotiations with Democrats this past weekend, Trump made clear his vice president’s efforts were pointless.

“I don’t expect to have anything happen at that meeting,” Trump told reporters Sunday. “Ultimately, it’s going to be solved by the principals.”

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And while Trump has undercut Pence at every opportunity, Pence is still playing the role of the dutiful soldier in the public’s eye. He’s been forced to defend the administration’s most mendacious distortions about immigration. Perhaps most embarrassingly, MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson pressed Pence on Trump’s blatant and absurd lie that previous presidents had told him that they regretted not building a wall on the border — a claim all the living presidents have denied. Pence wore his usual pained grimace while trying to twist the truth and avoid calling Trump an obvious liar, instead offering the transparently false reply that Trump only said it was “his impression” that other presidents felt this way. This is not what Trump said, and Pence knows it, but he was forced to lie anyway.

This week, Pence’s devoted cover for Trump wavered just a bit when he — perhaps inadvertently — admitted on CBS News that Democrats “are not even willing to negotiate until the president reopens the government.”

That is, in fact, exactly the Democrats’ argument: Trump has taken the federal government hostage, and Democrats don’t believe it is right to negotiate under those conditions. Debates about border security can happen while the government is open, just like any other policy debate. Trump has tried to spin the narrative to say that it was the Democrats who shut down the government, not him — but Pence slipped up and revealed the truth.

And on Wednesday, Trump gave Pence yet another demeaning task. After the president threw a tantrum in his White House negotiations with Pelosi and Schumer and walked out of the room, it was Pence who was forced to go out and publicly and say of the Democrats, “We hope they will come back to the table.”

Through the fight so far, Pence has proven to be ineffective, inept, and disempowered. His political standing, already permanently stained by his alliance with Trump, is somehow sinking even lower.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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Here are 3 ways Julián Castro stood out in the first Democratic Debate

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There were many predictions going into the first Democratic debate on MSNBC, but no one predicted that Julián Castro would break out from the crowd.

Check out the top three ways Castro stood out from the crowd.

Immigration:

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was the outright winner of the immigration section of the debate

It should "piss us all off," Castro said about the father and his little girl who were found face-down in the shores of the Rio Grande River this week. “It’s heartbreaking."

Castro is a second generation American who got into specifics on immigration policy, calling for an outright "Marshall Plan" style of action for Guatemala and Honduras. He joined with other Democrats calling for an end to President Donald Trump's family separation policy, but he then suggested ending the "metering" of legitimate asylum seekers.

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