Vice President Mike Pence perhaps still holds out hope that something will prevent President Trump from completing his term in office and allow Pence to at least sit behind the Resolute Desk for a few days. Pence has been trying to lay low amid the latest scandals enveloping the White House, but he apparently hasn’t been spending that time practicing his answers to questions about Ukraine.
As the Washington Post reports, Pence needs some new talking points. STAT!:
…when pressed Wednesday on what he knew and when he knew it, Pence was extremely evasive — and conspicuously so.
Pence has previously said that his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in early September included no talk about investigating the Bidens, but that they did discuss the broader concept of “corruption.” A whistleblower has also alleged that Trump canceled Pence’s planned trip to Zelensky’s May inauguration and sent Energy Secretary Rick Perry instead — one of several indications that high-level meetings have been withheld for leverage.
So with that as the backdrop, NBC News’s Vaughn Hillyard did yeoman’s work Wednesday pressing Pence on the matter. But Pence declined to directly answer many of the questions he was asked. Most notably, he repeatedly declined to say whether he we even aware of Trump’s interest in getting Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. [Pols emphasis]
Biden? Hmmm…the name sounds vaguely familiar. No, no, I don’t know anybody named “Biden.”
Pence didn’t limit his gibberish to his NBC News interview. As CNN reports:
Vice President Mike Pence is defending President Donald Trump for asking the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden — even when faced with his past comments on foreign interference in US politics.
In Iowa on Wednesday, CNN’s Randi Kaye asked Pence if he stood by his comments during the 2016 election that foreign governments “cannot participate” in the US political process.
“Well, I do,” Pence replied. “I think that’s why President Trump is so concerned about a foreign interference in our election in Ukraine.” [Pols emphasis]
Speaking of pretending to be concerned about foreign interference in American elections, this is what Pence said back in 2016: “This is basic stuff. Foreign donors, and certainly foreign governments, cannot participate in the American political process.”
CNN political guru Chris Cillizza is baffled by Pence’s double-talk:
…this defense makes zero sense. Like, none. It’s totally clear that Trump was asking Zelensky for help in digging up dirt on the leading Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential race. He was not simply telling Zelensky that “our country had been through a lot, and then had a question about foreign interference in our 2016 election” as Pence described it. That is simply not accurate. [Pols emphasis]
Cillizza suggests that Pence remains a loyal soldier to Trump because he’ll need the Big Orange Guy to support his eventual campaign for President, but that seems like an odd bargain. By the time 2024 rolls around, Trump’s endorsement probably won’t be worth squat.