by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
Donald Trump's rollout of his vice presidential pick Mike Pence did not go well.
After tweeting the announcement on July 15, Trump reportedly dithered all night, considering if he could take it back before he and Pence appeared on the weekend news shows.
The next day, however, Trump affirmed that Pence was 'my first choice.' Chris Christie, another potential VP pick, was said to be 'livid' that he was not selected.
Then came the odd 60 Minutes interview with Leslie Stahl on July 17. While both Trump and Pence were present, Trump hardly let his running mate get a word in.
That might have been just as well, because the two Republicans actually agree on very little. Pence is a classical neo-con Republican and an evangelical Christian, while Trump is politically and religiously eccentric, to say the least.
In one exchange, Stahl pointed out that as a congressman, Pence had voted for the invasion of Iraq.
'I don't care,' Trump replied.
'What do you mean? You don't care that he voted for...?' Stahl sputtered.
'It's a long time ago,' Trump shrugged. 'And he voted that way, and they were also misled. A lot of information was given to people.'
'But you've harped on this,' Stahl pressed, pointing out that Trump had used Hillary Clinton's vote for the invasion as evidence of her 'bad judgment.'
'He's entitled to make a mistake every once in a while,' Trump said, jovially elbowing Pence like a frat boy sharing a joke with his bro.
'But she's not? OK, come on...' Stahl asked, referring back to Clinton.
'No. She's not,' Trump said flatly.
Later on, Stahl pointed out that Pence supported the NAFTA free trade treaty, something Trump has denounced.
'I support free trade, and so does Donald Trump,' Pence said weakly.
'Not really,' Stahl replied.
'I do,' Trump interrupted. 'I'm free trade, but I wanna make good deals. No, no, I'm all for free trade.'
Pence later offered the explanation that 'what I hear Donald Trump saying is let's - let's look at these trade agreements and reconsider them, and renegotiate them.'
To SGN readers, Pence is probably best known not for his foreign policy views but as the governor who signed the country's first bill permitting discrimination on the basis of religious freedom, Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or SB 101.
The measure allows individuals and companies to justify discrimination against LGBT people by asserting that their religious scruples would be compromised if they treated them fairly. It could be used to deny LGBT people equal treatment in employment, housing, and public accommodations, including restroom use.
But SB 101 was not Pence's first run-in with the LGBT community. In fact, if there is any consistent theme to his political career, it is opposition to LGBT rights.
In 2010, for example, Pence voted against the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' stating, 'Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion.'
In 2009, he voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded the definition of hate crimes to include gender identity and sexual orientation.
In 2007, Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have banned workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
In 2000, he advocated defunding HIV/AIDS organizations, because they 'celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus,' and giving the money to conversion therapy outfits instead.
In fact, Pence is a big fan of defunding. In 2007 he introduced a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and one to defund the Environmental Protection Agency's monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions.
As a congressman, Pence also promoted various loony-tunes economic schemes, including readopting the gold standard, substituting a flat tax for the progressive income tax, and abolishing the federal minimum wage.
Strangely, Pence is not anti-Gay enough for a couple of prominent GOP right-wingers, who haven't forgiven him for waffling on SB 101 in the face of a national boycott of Indiana by Fortune 500 businesses.
In an all-caps Facebook post, right-wing siren Anne Coulter called Trump's selection of Pence 'TRUMP'S FIRST MISTAKE.'
'Pence is the combo-platter of disaster,' Coulter explained.
'He...somehow managed to tick off both sides in the gay marriage debate. After his state passed a law passed protecting Christians from having to participate in gay marriages, all hell broke loose. Pence thought to himself: 'I have a semi heading for me. Should I just stand here? Yes, I think I'll just stand here!' First, he allowed himself to be portrayed as a right-wing homophobic nut and then - just days later - he sold out to the left-wing activists anyway.'
Family Research Council boss Tony Perkins also found fault with Pence, saying he created a 'domino effect' when he seemed to back away from the worst consequences of SB 101.
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