Life will only get worse for Mike Pence as Trump unravels on the way out

Poor Mike Pence. He’s having a real lousy month, and the next 37 days are about to become even less happy and gay.

It’s bad enough having to deal with the movers. They’re having a little trouble understanding this entire “we’re still not sure we’re leaving, but we thought we’d line you up just in case” thing. And licking the presidential boots while the Mad King kicks them in a fit of rage can be a little risky to those pearly whites.

But now Pence faces the living hell of having to humor Donald Trump with the full knowledge that on January 21 he will be permanently kicked to the curb by the infidel boss who, it will turn out, was never all that into him for these four long years. Pence can sputter “under the President’s leadership under the President’s leadership under the President’s leadership” all he wants in his role as that creepy silver robot. Once these two are ushered out the door, Pence will just be another politician not named Trump.

If he thinks Agent Orange is going to make things easy, he might want to think again. As a New York Times report seemed to suggest Sunday, Pence is going to wish he didn’t have “ to announce to the world that Joe Biden is officially president” on his calendar for January 6.

“The looming battle on Jan. 6 is likely to culminate in a messy and deeply divisive spectacle that could thrust Pence into the excruciating position of having to declare once and for all that Mr. Trump has indeed lost the election,” the Times reported.

“The fight promises to shape how Mr. Trump’s base views the election for years to come, and to pose yet another awkward test of allegiance for Republicans who have privately hoped that the Electoral College vote this week will be the final word on the election result.

“For the vice president, whom the Constitution assigns the task of tallying the results and declaring a winner, the episode could be particularly torturous, forcing him to balance his loyalty to Mr. Trump with his constitutional duties and considerations about his own political future.”

Pence of course deserves all the torture he gets, having inflicted so much of it on the nation by his own cringeworthy homophobic presence. And with Trump certain to grow more irrationally bitter as rats scurry off his sinking ship, no options look good for the co-pilot.

Pence’s Twitter account has been devoid of activity supporting Trump’s bogus election claims except for one obligatory reference of support for the pathetic Texas case that the conservative U.S. Supreme Court tossed onto the garbage heap of legal history. Pence has been almost solely focused on news of the COVID-19 vaccine and efforts to prop up the Republicans’ terrible tandem of Senate candidates in Georgia.

Pence made a passing reference to the stupid “stay in the fight” slogan at his own appearance in Georgia. Setting that aside, though, the big news story about the vice president is the one not reported: He hasn’t breathed a word (nor retweeted) about election “fraud” since all the way back to November 14 when he strangely retweeted his own tweet on the subject:

Pence’s unnoticed disinclination to humor the stolen-election nonsense publicly has largely flown under the media radar. The Times did report Sunday that,” since the election, Mr. Pence has sent mixed messages about how far he would be willing to go to help Mr. Trump. In the early days of the transition, Mr. Pence fended off requests from the president’s loyalists to back specious claims about election fraud. But more recently, he publicly praised the failed lawsuit brought by the attorney general of Texas to have votes from battleground states thrown out.”

With no national constituency of his own and a prurient brand appealing only to a fraction of the coarse Trump base, it’s hard to see Pence’s path forward outside of Indiana. For 2024, he’s looking at having to fend off an endless number of Trumps and his fellow Trumps administration acolytes, along with a large bench of lean-and-hungry Republican challengers who won’t play nice with him.

Pence’s best bet is to focus his attention for now on the U.S. Senate, in part because of the epic battle in Georgia, but also to see what happens with COVID-19 relief. He will, after all, be entitled to unemployment benefits in less than six weeks.