Mike Pence, Republican Jewish Coalition, Las Vegas, NV
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition's 2023 Annual Leadership Summit in Las Vegas, NV. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

Mike Pence is leaving Donald Trump out to hang by withholding his endorsement in this year’s presidential race.

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Apparently, there is something that Donald Trump can do that would cause a Republican to not back his current White House bid. His former vice president, Mike Pence, said Friday it “should come as no surprise” that he would not endorse Trump this time around

There is no arguing that Pence of all people has every right to not fall in line with all of the other spineless Republicans who have rallied behind Trump even though they really don’t like him, he wasn’t that good of a president, he is a terrible human being whose mental disorders make him unfit to reclaim the White House, he is facing criminal charges in four cases, he was found by a jury to have sexually assaulted a woman, and he is incredibly corrupt.

None of these things seem to be deal breakers for the vast majority of Republicans… and probably wouldn’t have caused Pence to withhold his endorsement. 

However, in his case, there is that small matter of Trump supporters chanting that they wanted to “hang Mike Pence” during their January 6 insurrection, which caused the then-vice president to be ushered to safety. 

As it turns out, that was a bridge too far for Pence, who had previously endured every indignity and stood by as “religious” Republicans chose Trump as their idol over any of the more devout choices on the ballot. 

This means that we finally know where the line is for Republicans these days.

What comes next is not all that difficult to predict: Trump will go after his former running mate with some sort of pithy post on Truth Social, his supporters will wish they had gotten their hands on Pence and strung him up on January 6, and other Republicans will dodge questions about this matter by pretending that they “hadn’t heard about this.”

Obviously, Pence not endorsing Trump won’t move the needle one bit, which is yet another sign that the former president is not held to the same standard as anybody else. 

If, for example, current VP Kamala Harris were to turn on President Joe Biden, there would be breathless news coverage for days. 

Pence’s announcement, on the other hand, might even help Trump. After all, the former vice president’s favorability is about -30 points. Even Republicans are evenly split on whether they like him or not. 

It stands to reason that he would be much more popular among GOP voters if he had just gone along with Trump’s clumsy coup.

Alas, he did not, which is why he now has to show some spine for a second time. Usually, most Trump voters probably wouldn’t even get to hear about this since the right-wing propaganda machine tries to insulate them from any negative news about the former president. 

In this case, however, that is not possible because Pence made his announcement on Fox News, which will therefore also undoubtedly earn the (temporary) ire of Trump and his supporters. 


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a senior editor for Politics and director of the Mentor Apprentice Program at WhoWhatWhy. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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