MSNBC host Joy Reid courageously called out her own network for failing to ask Vice President Mike Pence a single question about the roiling Trump/Russia scandal, during his appearance on Meet the Press.
Vice President Mike Pence has largely gotten an unearned pass from the media on the Trump/Russia probe, and pretty much every other issue, but recent revelations about his complicity and dishonesty in the Mike Flynn scandal could change that.
This weekend, MSNBC’s Joy Reid criticized Meet the Press, on NBC, for failing to ask Pence critical questions about what he knew, and when, regarding the Trump’s campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. Reid noted that reporters never ask Pence about Russia and she wondered whether whether Pence’s “clean” image can hold up.
Appearing on Reid’s show, journalist Sarah Kendzior described Pence as a “calm liar” who has managed to fly under the radar, but not for much longer:
REID: And, Sarah, you do have the sense of sort of presenting Mike — you know, presenting Mike Pence as Mr. Clean, the guy who didn’t know anything, the guy who they had to fire Flynn because he lied to Mike Pence, that Mike Pence was lied to and ill-treated by Flynn. But is that a viable story line going forward? He was on “Meet the press” this morning and he didn’t get asked about Russia. He doesn’t get asked about Russia. He winds up being the clean guy of the administration. But does that idea that he is Mr. Clean, in your view, hold up?
KENDZIOR: No, it doesn’t hold up at all. You can go all the way back to the vice presidential debate, in which he lied multiple things that Trump said and did, things that were provable through video, as if we had no access to this information on our own. I think what’s going on here is Americans aren’t used to a calm liar. We’re used to lies that are screamed by Trump, that are put forth in an obviously propagandistic way. And I think with Pence, the Republican Party put him out as this kind of alternative, but he’s just as complicit, and just as involved. He was part of the transition that put this together. He was warned through a letter. And I think he is just only different in disposition, and not in terms of intention as to what this administration wants to accomplish, which is to, you know, violate constitutional law.
Pence is probably the most overlooked person in politics, a dangerous situation for the man who could become president if Trump is removed from office. Evidence of Pence’s lies about Flynn is now coming to light, but there have been loud signals that he is the weak link in the Trump/Russia chain for a long time.
While Pence is, as Kendzior noted, a smooth and “calm” liar when it comes to political matters, he falls apart when directly asked about Russia.
In January, we flagged this exchange with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace, in which Pence delivered a stumbling and lawyerly non-denial when he was asked about the campaign’s possible collusion with Russia:
WALLACE: Was there any contact in any way between Trump or his associates and the Kremlin or cutouts they had?
PENCE: I joined this campaign in the summer, and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and associates was with the American people. We were fully engaged with taking his message to make America great again all across this country.
WALLACE: I’m just trying to get an answer.
PENCE: Of course not. Why would there be any contact between the campaign? Chris, this is all a distraction, and it’s all part of a narrative to delegitimize the election and to question the legitimacy of his presidency.
When news of Flynn’s deception broke, the media simply took the White House’s word for it that Pence had been lied to, but now that we know this is also a lie, the gloves need to come off. If journalists press Pence hard enough — and they should — he will crack and the truth just might come out.