A NYT headline online today announced “Pence Reached His Limit with Trump. It Wasn’t Pretty.” Reached his limit is an interesting phrase. Pence, we will no doubt be led to believe, was in there resisting all along, like the once-anonymous, so-called senior official who assured Times readers in 2018 of the resistance to Trump: “many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
I remember not being reassured. At the very beginning of my academic career I was teaching in a very troubled and divided department whose senior members were uninhibited in putting pressures on nontenured faculty to do their bidding on this or that issue. The threat of a lack of support when you came up for tenure hung in the air in every conversation. A colleague who was also nontenured but a few years ahead and well-experienced in the ways of our elders and ever more anxious about his future, would self-mockingly announce a resolve to stand up to the bullies by puffing up his chest and declaring, There is some shit I will not eat!
Mike Pence was comfortable with his diet for 1,447 days of his 1,461-day vice-presidency. Only after the boss incited a white nationalist mob to storm the citadel of the world’s longest-standing democratic legislative body did he lose his appetite. Or did he? Today he didn’t simply resist but outright refused to initiate a 25th-amendment removal of our seditious president. ∞