On Sunday, The Washington Post described Vice President Mike Pence as “square-jawed punching bag” not just for Democrats but also some members of the GOP.
Pence’s former chief of staff, Nick Ayers, told the publication the veep’s loyalty to President Donald Trump made him an “an easy target” for detractors.
“When his advice is taken, we don’t read about it,” Ayers told the Post. “More importantly, when his advice is not taken, we don’t read about it. It’s nearly impossible to find a friend like that in Washington, but the president knows he has that in Mike Pence.”
Republican strategist Mike Murphy called the politician a “supplicant” who answers only to the commander-in-chief. He “has made a decision to have a constituency of one person: Donald Trump,” Murphy said. “And so he doesn’t really care about anything else.”
While such a position is somewhat “liberating,” Pence should be terrified because “he’s hanging everything on the affection and allegiance of a madman.”
It’s not the first time a strategist has publicly criticized Pence’s fealty to the president. A Republican strategist and former aide to Senator John McCain told an MSNBC panel that the politician showed “slobbering servility” to Trump, and went on to criticize Pence’s “moral preening.”
“We’ve listened to this guy for many, many years in this country on his moral high horse,” Schmidt said, per The Hill. “Assaulting the dignity of gay people across the board. His moral preening is famous throughout the land.”
Reality television star and former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, who switched parties for the president, criticized Pence’s views on an episode of Celebrity Big Brother in 2018, CBS reported at the time. “He’s extreme,” she said. “I’m Christian. I love Jesus, but [Pence] thinks Jesus tells him to say things. And I’m like, ‘Jesus ain’t say that.’ He’s scary.”
Over in the Democratic camp, former vice president and possible 2020 candidate Joe Biden drew ire after he described Pence as “a decent guy” at a recent speaking event. Called out on Twitter by actress and former New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, he quickly clarified his comment. It was “in a foreign policy context,” Biden explained.
At a March 2 campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, 2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren said she disagreed with Biden’s comment. “I followed Pence’s history on LGBTQ Americans, and I don’t think that is a decent position,” she said.
The Massachusetts senator reiterated her comments on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Wednesday, saying: “Anyone who engages in the kind of homophobia and attacks on people who are different from himself is not an honorable person. That’s not what honorable people do.”