If the president of the United States were to be removed from office, what would come could be even worse. This is Mike Pence, the number two former governor of the most controversial government on the planet.
The image of a president leaving office ahead of schedule is not often seen in the United States, but neither is it strange. Many citizens can still remember when, in 1974, President Richard Nixon, the same man who started the current war on drugs, announced his resignation in a televised speech following the Watergate scandal. Added to this image of reality, House of Cards, the popular Netflix series, offers another fictitious image of the resignation of a President. In both cases, the departure of the U.S. Commander-in-Chief came after a deep crisis of governance.
Imagining that Donald Trump does not finish his presidency is not difficult. Almost every day since he took office has been characterized as controversial. This, of course, comes from the beginning of his electoral career in mid-2015. Almost every major power in the country opposed his campaign. Since his inauguration there have been protests all over the country against his policies.
But in addition, in the month he has been in the White House he has already resigned his National Security advisor, Michael Flynn, while several of his secretaries are still missing to be confirmed in the Senate. And at this moment the President is facing the scandal caused by the New York Times revelation that several members of his campaign had contacts with the Russian government, accused last year of having interfered in the elections.
The departure of a President implies that the Vice President assumes office, as happened when Gerald Ford replaced Nixon for the remainder of his term. If Trump leaves, Mike Pence, 57, would remain in the Oval office. Compared to his boss, Pence has had a quieter profile. His statements have been less explosive and so far his work has revolved around diplomacy - participating in the White House's communication with other states around the world - and government dialogue, especially with religious communities. But perhaps Pence's past actions speak more and better of him than his words as Vice President.
An ambiguous career
Pence has a long history in politics. Before arriving in his new position, he was governor of his home state, Indiana, from 2013. In addition, he served twelve years in the House of Representatives, from 2001 to 2013. An attorney by training, Pence has been known for defending policies that are clearly religiously and fiscally conservative. He is, as he has described himself, Christian, conservative, and Republican.
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Upon his arrival in the House in 2001, Pence joined the International Affairs Committee. Along with his fellow Republicans, he was one of the supporters of the Patriotic Act, which was promoted by the George Bush administration after the September 11 attacks. In addition, like almost all members of the Republican and Democratic parties, Pence passed the resolution that allowed the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. A little more than a year later, he was also on the side of the invasion of Iraq. In addition to the war on terrorism, Pence supported Bush's efforts to win the war on drugs.
On international issues, however, his positions are varied. While supporting military invasions in the Middle East, Pence was an immigration advocate during the Bush administration. Between 2006 and 2007 he supported the possibility of immigration reform that would allow citizens of other countries to go to work in the United States for a limited time. At the time, he stated, "We are a nation of immigrants. I don't just understand it, I live it. He was thinking of his own grandfather, who had come from Ireland at the beginning of the 20th century to work in Chicago.
Now, his positions on this issue varied over the years. In 2014, as governor of Indiana, he joined his Republican counterparts in challenging an executive order of then-President Barack Obama protecting nearly five million undocumented immigrants from deportation. And in 2015, when Donald Trump's election campaign was just beginning and Pence had not joined it, he disagreed with the proposal of today's head of state to prevent Muslims from entering the United States.
On the economic front, Pence has advocated a steady and substantial reduction in public spending and taxes. Thus, in 2010, like his supporters, he opposed Obamacare, the law that sought to give access to health insurance to millions of Americans who cannot afford it; however, when he was governor of Indiana, he called for an expansion of the historic Medicaid and Medicare social programs, which help the poorest access health care, so that it would have greater coverage for people who were not so poor, but who lived without health insurance. He also strengthened the Healthy Indiana Plan, which has similar purposes to Obamacare, and has fought for reforms to lower the costs of medicines and medical services.
Pence's economic positions are also ambiguous. As a congressman and governor, he advocated for the country to sign free trade agreements around the world. And this is significant because, as is well known, Trump came into office, in part, with a promise to restructure U.S. trade relations. As he said at the time, free trade agreements bankrupted industries and killed jobs.
But in addition, Pence's old ideas become relevant because his home state was one of the key states in Trump's triumph. Along with Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, among others, Indiana belongs to the so-called Rust Belt, which has historically been an industrial manufacturing zone. A good part of Trump's campaign was directed to these states, because there have been many people who have lost their jobs due to the transfer of factories to other countries like Mexico.
Trump blamed free trade for this and promised to return the jobs to the country. Only in December 2016, a month before taking office as president, Trump and Pence managed to get the company Carrier, which mainly produces refrigeration systems, to desist in its project to move its plant to Mexico, which was going to mean the loss of about 2000 jobs in the capital of the state of today's Vice President.
In addition, Pence's figure served Trump's campaign because during his term of office unemployment was reduced by half, which gave him great ancestry among the families of workers. Added to this was his policy of cutting taxes every year, which gave him enormous popularity. But, above all, there is the fact that Pence, unlike Trump himself or many of the politicians who identify with the establishment, is not a millionaire and shares many of the problems of the average American.
Last year, Pence disclosed his tax returns, and they showed that most of his income came from his governor's salary and did not exceed $200,000 a year. The Vice President's wife, Mrs. Karen Pence, also made a living from her salary as an arts teacher. Between them, they also paid a student debt of nearly $300,000 that they had acquired to finance the education of their three children.
However, although during his political career Pence has fluctuated in some of his ideals, there is one point at which he has never changed in those years: his defense of Christian values. Born into a Catholic and Democratic family in 1959, in the late 1970s the former governor of Indiana converted to Protestantism. His religious convictions are deep and he considers himself a family man. In 1985 he married Karen Batten and they had three children, Michael, Charlotte and Audrey.
In the public arena Pence has always defended his Christian ideals. Since 1988, when he lost his first campaign to the House, and during the 1990s, when he became a radio and television broadcaster, Pence has said the United States must follow the laws of what he calls "God's plan. According to him, the country's deviation from its founding Christian precepts could lead to the "destruction of civilization.
In this sense, Pence has been very sensitive to debates such as abortion and egalitarian marriage. Faced with the first issue, during his career as a congressman he often asked to de-finance the organization Planned Parenthood, which provides services to American women so that they can decide about their reproductive lives. Among other functions, Planned Parenthood provides access to safe abortions. Within days of taking office as Vice President, the former governor supported the so-called "march for life," held after the Women's March. In it he again charged Planned Parenthood.
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During the campaign, Pence also promised several conservative sectors that he would confine to "the ashes of history" the court ruling known as Roe v. Wade, which decriminalized abortion nationwide in 1973. In addition, during his term as governor he signed several state laws that only allowed abortion in cases where the mother's life was in danger. These laws were later annulled, but with them Pence strengthened his image as a radical conservative.
Faced with the second issue, sexual diversity, Pence has radically opposed same-sex marriage. In 2006, he pushed for a constitutional amendment that sought to ban equal marriage throughout the country. His actions against the LGBTI community don't stop there. As governor, he signed several state laws that sought, among other things, to imprison same-sex couples seeking to marry or to allow religious discrimination against LGBTI people.
Pence is a mad man. World war 3 would be imminent if he took over.