Yes, yes, Vice President Pence is not a nice person. In fact, he may well be a horrible person. But then, Richard Nixon was not exactly every person’s dream of their ideal human being either. And Mike Pence, like Richard Nixon, has one strong advantage that Donald Trump lacks – he is NOT batshit crazy.
This week, while on vacation, Donald Trump has brought out nation closer to the brink of nuclear war than any president since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Those of us old enough to remember those days in October, 1962 are, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, experiencing deja vu all over again.
After achieving what everyone considered a major diplomatic triumph against North Korea – the unanimous 15-0 vote by the United Nations Security Council to impose greater economic sanctions, which he acclaimed a mere four days ago:
Trump trashed it all just days later in an unprompted, unscripted talk with the press at his private resort, where he is vacationing at taxpayers’ expense:
Later it was revealed that Trump made these threats without consulting with his Secretary of Defense, his Secretary of State, his National Security Advisor, his Ambassador to the United Nations, or even his Chief of Staff, three of whom are former or currently serving Generals in the U.S. military. It is doubtful he even talked with his most senior advisor, Ivanka, either. Nope, he just decided to threaten a seriously disturbed dictator with nuclear capability in some off-the-cuff comments. Because he had taken a liking to the phrase “fire and fury.”
Despite scrabbling efforts by leaders in his administration to walk back these comments, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump doubled down on his “tough” talk with Kim Jung-Un.
Then, when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, Trump tweeted out the following this morning:
Trump has probably being waiting his entire life, since his valorous days serving in military school, to use the phrase “locked and loaded.” He likes to talk tough. He wants to be perceived as being tough. But in reality, like all bullies, Trump is a coward. And his most important concern is not the safety and well-being of our country, but of his own reputation.
Of all the options available for removing a sitting president from office, Article 4 of the 25th Amendment is the least satisfactory. However, in the current situation it may be our best hope for stopping a deluded 71-year-old man from dragging us, and the rest of the world into a major military conflagration.
It only requires that the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet declare the President is unable to perform the duties of his office. It can be done swiftly, in a situation where time is of the essence. Those same generals whom Trump has surrounded himself with no doubt recall the oath they took when they joined the military – to protect the Constitution (not the President) from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.
Perhaps this is overreaction, as cooler heads might advise. Perhaps wiser voices will prevail in the end. Perhaps China or Russia will begin acting like the adults in the room in this squabble between two childish bullies and step in. But the likelihood that Donald Trump will back down, publicly, seems remote. And the same goes for North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un.
So rather than face the possibly of war, or, God forbid, nuclear war, all we are saying is – give Pence (and peace) a chance.