In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, the country has been reeling from certain actions and decisions made by president-elect Donald Trump in the short time since his victory. He has made some disturbing comments that not only point to his general vitriol and his inability to be a mature adult, but that also point to the idea that he may not respect the constitution of the United States of America, much less the people that live and work in this great land.
Trump’s vice presidential pick, Mike Pence, is equally terrifying, but for a number of different reasons. First, he is much more grounded than Trump, yet he has much more radical beliefs. This combination is dangerous because it allows him to put forth one persona while he operates under a different one. Trump, for all his problems, at least seems to speak his mind directly, regardless of how it makes him look. Even if what he says is a blatant lie, he at least believes it himself.
In a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos on his ABC show This Week, Mike Pence was confronted with a particularly disturbing claim made by Donald Trump. The claim made by Trump was that Hillary Clinton only won the popular vote as a result of ‘millions’ of illegal votes that were cast by immigrants or citizens who have died in the recent past. Trump made the claim via Twitter after it was announced that he won the election via the electoral college, which seems like a strange thing for the winner to do. Instead of basking in his victory, he had to be sure the world knew the he would have also won the popular vote had Hillary not ‘cheated’.
The problem is that evidence for such a claim does not exist. Stephanopoulos brought this point up to Pence during their interview, and asked the next vice president if it was responsible for Trump for make such claims without any evidence to back them up. Pence, who had no real response for the actual question at hand, cited a Pew study done in 2012 that examined problems with outdated voter registrations. Pence seemed to be under the impression that the study proved voter fraud was a rampant issue, and as such he assumed it would be a good rebuttal against claims that Trumps comments were irresponsible.
However, the author of that Pew study from 2012 came to the conclusion that there was no evidence of voter fraud. In fact, the Trump campaign’s use of that study as evidence of voter fraud recently earned them one of the lowest truth ratings on the Politifact network. Stephanopoulos stated to Pence that his statements regarding voter fraud and his citing of the Pew study were false, yet Pence continued his rhetoric defending Trump’s comments. He even went on to say that it was Trump’s right to ‘call attention’ to the evidence that has been building up over the years, despite the fact that no such evidence has been building up at all.
Stephanopoulous took the opportunity to rebuttal himself, and asked if it was Trump’s right to make false statements to the American people as if they were true. Pence replied in typical fashion, stating that he thought it was refreshing to see a president-elect with such a deep connection to the American people. He went on to say he admired Trump for his candor.
In one last effort to get Pence to accept the truth about Trump and his comments, Stephanopoulos asked why Pence thought it was refreshing to see Trump make false claims to the American people. Pence, in frustration, responded that nobody knows whether or not the statement was false, and that the evidence from the Pew study was historic in its scope of voter fraud. When asked to provide specific evidence from the study, Pence could not oblige.