One exchange between VP-elect Mike Pence and Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday showed why Pence would not survive Trump’s Russia scandal.
Video of the full Pence interview:
Transcript via Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: All right.
Second question: can you flatly deny — because this continues to be out there — that there were any contact at any point in the campaign between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian operatives, including cutouts, as we know, about the hacking of the Democrats during the election?
PENCE: This — you know, some of this derives from this opposition research memo, I guess, Chris, that made its way around the Internet. There was about 24 hours were Michael Cohen, who has worked in the Trump Organization for many years, was accused for having a meeting in Prague, and finally, some news organizations did a little checking and found out that it was a different Michael Cohen. And Michael himself has never actually been to Prague.
WALLACE: But I do want to ask you a question.
PENCE: He was at a baseball game with his son in August of last year. So —
WALLACE: I understand that. But there’s been other talk, and in fact, if I may, senators specifically asked FBI Director Comey about that. He refused to answer.
So, I’m asking a direct question: was there any contact in any way between Trump or his associates and the Kremlin or cutouts they had?
PENCE: I joined this campaign in the summer, and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and associates was with the American people. We were fully engaged with taking his message to make America great again all across this country. That’s why he won in a landslide election.
WALLACE: — if there were any contacts, sir, I’m just trying to get an answer.
PENCE: Yes. I — of course not. Why would there be any contacts between the campaign?
Chris, the — this is all a distraction, and it’s all part of a narrative to delegitimize the election and to question the legitimacy of this presidency, the American people see right through it.
Notice how Pence tried to stick to the standard line that Trump won in a landslide. He also tried to give himself plausible deniability by stating that he didn’t join the campaign until the summer, with the suggestion being that there may have been contact between Trump and Russia before he became Trump’s running mate.
Mike Pence is going to be tainted with Donald Trump’s scandals. Even if some gigantic scandal would force Trump to resign or be impeached, Pence is not going to be in a strong position to lead the country. In fact, Pence would immediately become the modern day Gerald Ford. Mike Pence would be a dead president walking whose future White House prospects would be ruined by Trump.
Pence’s refusal to provide a straight up answer shows that the VP-elect isn’t a Republican firewall. He life raft with a giant hole in the middle. If Trump goes down, Pence is going with him, which means that a potential Pence presidency is unlikely ever to happen.