I know that’s an audacious headline, but one I stand behind. We can acknowledge that Donald Trump is clueless, arrogant, and lacks the understanding to lead a country. I also expect evidence of a crime will be found, but I feel America is better off with him as president.
To understand why I have such a controversial view we need to look at the facts, the Constitution, and the consequences.
The most important fact is to look at what will happen if Trump is impeached/no longer in office. I’m not talking about the claims that his supporters will be rioting in the streets or the fact that impeachments have never removed a US President from office, and no US President has ever been impeached. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached by the House of Representatives but were acquitted by the Senate. Richard Nixon resigned during proceedings.
|1||Vice President||Mike Pence (R)|
|2||Speaker of the House of Representatives||Paul Ryan (R)|
|3||President pro tempore of the Senate||Orrin Hatch (R)|
|4||Secretary of State||Mike Pompeo (R)|
|5||Secretary of the Treasury||Steven Mnuchin (R)|
|6||Secretary of Defense||Jim Mattis (I)|
|7||Attorney General||Jeff Sessions (R)|
|8||Secretary of the Interior||Ryan Zinke (R)|
|9||Secretary of Agriculture||Sonny Perdue (R)|
|10||Secretary of Commerce||Wilbur Ross (R)|
|11||Secretary of Labor||Alex Acosta (R)|
|12||Secretary of Health and Human Services||Alex Azar (R)|
|13||Secretary of Housing and Urban Development||Ben Carson (R)|
|–||Secretary of Transportation||Elaine Chao (R)|
|14||Secretary of Energy||Rick Perry (R)|
|15||Secretary of Education||Betsy DeVos (R)|
|16||Secretary of Veterans Affairs||Robert Wilkie (R)|
|17||Secretary of Homeland Security||Kirstjen Nielsen (I)|
Elaine Chao is ineligible as a naturalized American. Some are also not yet Senate-confirmed, but the important part is that Mike Pence is the President’s successor. If anything stops Donald Trump from serving as president, he automatically becomes President and continues to the end of the current term. There is no provision for an early election, and neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate need to, or can, do anything about it. The checks and balances were all done and made official on January 20, 2017. There’s no “oops, can we have a do-over?”
I do not want a President Pence for my country.
Mike Pence is downright scary. Sure Donald Trump can’t keep his fingers to himself, either around women or his Twitter account, but Mike Pence doesn’t trust himself to be alone in the same room as a woman who’s not his wife. Donald Trump is all bluster and has the respect of very few. This means the checks and balances put in place are kind of holding in place. They aren’t perfect, but even with control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Trump and the Republicans are struggling. Many candidates for the secretary roles haven’t been confirmed. The decimation of the healthcare system failed. The enormous cuts to social services spending weren’t approved. Our current situation isn’t good, but it could be a lot worse.
I feel that Mike Pence, through being calm and controlled, as earned the respect of enough people to get his plans enacted.
Let’s look at what Mike Pence did as Indiana’s governor to see what he would be like as US President.
- He cut $14 billion from annual state budget including a $24 million cut from colleges and universities; a $27 million cut from the ‘Family and Social Services Administration’ (FSSA); and a $12 million cut from the Department of Correction.
- The Indiana Economic Development Corporation led by Pence had approved $24 million in incentives to 10 companies who sent jobs abroad. While I’m not against the jobs going, cuts to education spending made it difficult for the workers to retrain in new areas.
- In 2013, Pence signed a law blocking local governments in Indiana from requiring businesses to offer higher wages or benefits beyond those required by federal law. The US federal minimum wage in 2013 was $7.25 per hour, and it hasn’t changed since.
- In 2013 he pushed through tax reform, that while didn’t decrease income tax rates as much as he wanted, did remove inheritance tax (which supports the wealthy most), and many corporate taxes.
- Pence clashed with Glenda Ritz, the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, who was in support of public schools, versus Pence’s preferences for charter schooling and the voucher system. He removed control of the Educational Employment Relations Board from her and established a new center to coordinate between schools and the private sector. When this failed he signed a bill stripping Ritz of much of her authority over standardized testing and other education issues
- Pence is a supporter of the coal industry, saying “Indiana is a pro-coal state,” expressing support for an “all-of-the-above energy strategy,” and stating: “we must continue to oppose the overreaching schemes of the EPA until we bring their war on coal to an end.”
- In May 2015, Pence signed into law Senate Bill 98, which limited lawsuits against gun and ammunition manufacturers and sellers. He also retroactively terminated a lawsuit against gun manufacturers and retailers who were illegally selling weapons; a move that was seen as an overreach of authority.
- Pence and the Republican-controlled legislature defunded Planned Parenthood, including in Scott County which didn’t offer abortions. That removed the only HIV testing center in the county, which now has an HIV outbreak. To combat the epidemic, he allowed five counties to offer needle exchange services, which has been proven to decrease infection rates without increasing drug use. He also refused to lift the ban on funding the services, voiding the process.
- Senate Bill 101, signed by Pence in 2015, gave people the right to refuse service on the basis of their religious beliefs. This effectively permitted discrimination of LGBT people.
- The bill HB 103 banned abortion if the reason for the procedure given by the woman was the fetus’ race or gender or a fetal abnormality. Also, the bill required that all fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages at any stage of pregnancy be buried or cremated. This meant that women carrying a severely disabled and ill fetus would be forced to carry it to term. It also added the expense and emotional impact of a burial or cremation on people.
- As governor, Pence attempted unsuccessfully to prevent Syrian refugees from being resettled in Indiana. In February 2016, a federal judge ruled that Pence’s order to cut off federal funds for a local non-profit refugee resettlement agency was unconstitutional; Pence has appealed.
- Mike Pence has used a commercial AOL, personal email account for official business. While technically not illegal, it lacked security as seen when hackers used it to request money from his contacts in 2016. He has also delayed or refused to disclose public documents.
Mike Pence has also been out of the limelight for much of this administration. In doing this, he’s avoiding being grouped with the crazy that’s occurring in the White House with the revolving door of secretaries and advisors, and incidents that are increasingly more ludicrous. I’m scared of how effective he could be in the top job. That’s why I don’t want Donald Trump impeached.
What we can do to stop Mike Pence
We can vote. We can protest. We can strengthen the checks and balances. We can say no. We can choose to do what’s right.
Many Republicans are choosing not to run for reelection in this November’s mid-term elections. We need to vote in people who will represent the people. Personally, I don’t care which party they represent, as long as they do the job we elect them to—represent us, the people. Trump hasn’t achieved much with the balance of power; we can hold them back further if they have minimal power. We also need to speak up. Support the groups who need it: minority groups, children, the under-served. And we need to make friends with those whose political views differ from our own. Yelling and insults and facebook fights don’t unite and help.
We can live with a Twitter-happy, blowhard. We can’t live with evil.
Update: This post was prompted by a conversation on Monday, written on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday the Washington Post published this scathing opinion piece by George F Will. Mike Pence has also reappeared in public this week.