What is Mike Pence actually doing?

On Thursday night, Mike Pence’s impossible feat was brought to a halt.

The former vice president spoke to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, California to discuss the achievements of the Trump-Pence administration in everything, from immigration to trade to foreign policies.
Pence stated at one time that President Donald Trump was also one-of-a-kind. He also disrupted the status quo. He challenged the establishment. He reenergized our movement and set a bold new course in America for the 21st Century. There is no turning back now, just as there was then.
Except that Trump is obsessed with his fantasy of a 2020 election being stolen, and Pence continues to defend his inability to reverse the election’s outcome during the certification process.
“Now, there is a section of our party that believes that, in my position over the joint session as presiding officer, that I had the authority to reject or reverse electoral votes certified by the states,” Pence stated. “But the Constitution does not give the vice president such authority in the joint session. The truth is that there are few ideas more anti-American than the idea that any single person could elect the American president.
This is the only thing Trump or his most passionate fans will be interested in from Pence’s speech. This means that any attempt by Pence to connect himself to Trump’s achievements (and to the former president personally), will go utterly void.

Trump repeatedly attacked Pence for not blocking certification of the Electoral College election results. “Mike Pence did not have the courage to protect our country and Constitution,” Trump tweeted immediately after certification. Rioters gathered near the US Capitol. (Pence wasn’t empowered to in any way shape or form to affect the certification.
Hours later, some of the same rioters were still chanting “Hang Mike Pence” while they rolled through Capitol Building — even though a gallows was being built outside.
Trump believes that Pence’s inability to violate the law to reverse the election wiped out all the good things Pence had done for him over four years. This is an extraordinary erasure considering that Trump had no loyal ally other than Pence — who was seemingly by Trump’s side for everything.
In this speech and a few others since his January 6th debacle, Pence seems to be treading a fine line. He wants to become Trump’s legislative heir. He also knows that he cannot rewrite the history of his January 6 role. He cannot make Trump look like him again.
Pence’s case for 2024 — and he intends to run — is that Donald Trump without the complete-on election denial that sparked January 6.
This is a falsehood. Trump doesn’t revolve around policies. It’s all about how you feel and what tone you choose. It’s about tone and feels, at least for now.
It’s like saying you love baseball except for the pitching. Or you might love Italian food, but not lasagna or spaghetti. You can’t have one without the other.
Trump has so merged his personality and his following with his rejection of election, that it is impossible for someone like Pence not to embrace Trumpism’s policy end if any, but reject his core passion and his movement.
Pence will continue to try, of course. He’s in a political impasse.

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