While Trump’s popularity plummets, the Mueller investigation heats up, and elected officials file for the flailing president’s impeachment, there is an important question that needs to be asked: what would the White House helmed by arch-conservative Mike Pence look like?
Pence was, of course, a sacrificial goat. The establishment – ostensibly looking to shore up conservative bonafides under then-candidate Trump while not wasting any talent for what they thought would be an enormous electoral defeat – offered up Pence to go down with Trump’s ship. At the time, Pence was enormously unpopular, even in deeply conservative Indiana.
Fast forward to the present, and the single least popular (and most corrupt) president in modern history may not complete his first term. Whether it is Trump’s cabinet invoking the 25th amendment, full-on impeachment, or – as Trump’s former ghostwriter predicts – a resignation, there is a distinct possibility that Pence will ascend to the most powerful position in the US federal government.
Things would look pretty rough under Pence. Former White House aid and far-right nationalist Steve Bannon fears that Pence would be completely beholden to the Koch brothers. He is probably right, and with fewer scandals bogging him down (that is, however, assuming he is not incriminated in the Russia investigation) Pence could do some serious damage.
Perhaps scariest of all is how radically out of touch Pence is with US citizens’ respect for equality. He his virulently anti-LGBTQ, and was a proponent of the so-called religious freedom law that would have permitted business owners to outright refuse service to people they believed were gay.
Trump himself – as reported by Jane Mayer for the New Yorker – joked that Pence “wants to hang” all gay people.
Trump’s forthrightness with this comment implies that Pence has made no secret of his strident homophobia behind closed doors. With access to judge appointments and a megaton of hatred in his heart, a president Mike Pence would be thoroughly horrifying.