Jesus Finally Told Mike Pence to Drop Out

The former vice president said he has “no regrets” in bowing out and…really? Not even the regret of running in the first place?

Jesus Finally Told Mike Pence to Drop Out
Photo:Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

Well, it seems the Lord in His infinite wisdom finally got on the horn with former Vice President Mike Pence over the weekend and called on him to suspend his impotent Republican presidential campaign. That, or perhaps Pence realized he doesn’t even qualify for the third Republican debate next week, is polling at 1% among evangelical voters in Iowa, and speaking, of Iowa, couldn’t even get 15 prospective voters to hear him talk at the local Pizza Ranch. In whatever case, Pence announced that he’s ended his presidential bid while speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual gathering in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday.

“It’s become clear to me: This is not my time,” Pence told audience members. “So after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president effective today. We always knew this would be an uphill battle, but I have no regrets.”

Really, Michael? Not even one? Not even the regrettable error of severely misreading the room and jumping into this race in the first place? Mind you, former President Trump is the de facto nominee, the party’s vicious standard bearer, and as far as Trump and the MAGA world are concerned, Pence is the reason Trump isn’t president right now. Some might call it courageous that Pence waded into shark-infested, aggressively hostile waters despite this, but what I’d actually consider courageous is growing a moral spine and leaving the party that’s repeatedly thrown him under the bus, altogether. Between chanting for Pence to be hanged or booing him at an NRA conference in his home state, Republican voters have time and again attacked Pence with nearly the same vigor as they attack women and queer people’s rights—and that is truly saying something.

Another regret that a man with some modicum of introspection might hold is accepting Trump’s offer to be his VP back in 2016, in the first place. In the aftermath of Pussygate, the offer to a famously devout man like Pence was transparently damage control—damage control clearly only benefited Trump, whereas it’s possibly ended Pence’s political career.

Call it a come-to-Jesus moment, call it coming to grips with reality—I’m most compelled by the Associated Press’ input, which frames Pence’s departure from the race as a desperate move to save some face and some coin:

“Pence’s decision, more than two months before the Iowa caucuses that he had staked his campaign on, saves him from accumulating additional debt, as well as the embarrassment of potentially failing to qualify for the third Republican primary debate, on Nov. 8 in Miami.”

Since Pence suspended his campaign Saturday, other members of the Republican field have already responded with statements true to their character. Trump insisted that the time has come for Pence to endorse him, while also calling Pence “disloyal” and suggesting Pence doesn’t “have what it takes” to become president, ever. Chris Christie unhelpfully observed that “the race is narrowing.” Nikki Haley eulogized Pence as if he and not just his campaign had died: “He’s been a good man of faith. He’s been a good man of service. He has fought for America and he has fought for Israel.” Cool! And… no one else really seemed to care.

Speaking of eulogizing Pence’s campaign and broader political career, I’d be remiss to not commemorate the the hits—his refusal to interact with women who aren’t his wife without a chaperone, for instance. His absolute loathing of queer people while ironically referring to his wife, former Second Lady Karen Pence, as “Mother,” not unlike a Twitter stan talking about Ariana Grande. Or perhaps the rabid, burning desire to ban all abortion, to the extent that a coalition of Indiana feminists began calling his office when he was governor of Indiana to describe their periods in protest. While those are the tidbits for which I’ll personally remember Mike Pence, realistically, his legacy will probably be serving as the first vice president whose president egged on a lynch mob against him—only to remain loyal to the party, anyway.

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