Mike Pence Insists He’s Not Dropping Off The GOP Ticket, Defends Trump’s Vile Comments

While Donald Trump’s attempt to out-Jerry Springer Jerry Springer failed spectacularly during Sunday’s presidential debate, the Republican nominee’s running mate faced an uphill battle of his own. Due to the cancellation of several campaign events, rumors began swirling that Pence wanted off the GOP presidential ticket in a hurry. Their sources were, of course, unattributed or credited to antonymous tipsters obtained by the journalists who tweeted them, but the online uproar was enough to necessitate Pence’s latest round of television appearances on Monday morning.

On CNN’s New Day, the Republican governor of Indiana was asked point blank whether or not the rumors were true. Especially since news of Pence’s initial discomfort with Trump’s “locker room talk” stemmed from reports involving his “furious” wife, Karen Pence:

“It’s absolutely false to suggest that at any point in time we considered dropping off this ticket. It’s the greatest honor of my life to have been nominated by my party to be the next Vice President of the United States of America. Look, politics is a very touch business. I get that… This is my first time at the national level. The fact is, as I said on Saturday, I couldn’t condone and I couldn’t defend those remarks. I encouraged Donald Trump on Friday to apologize for them. He did. He expressed his personal remorse.”

Trump did in fact apologize for his comments from 2005, though how much Pence specifically had to do with it remains to be seen. What’s more, the conversation had less to do with what Trump said and did, and more to do with whether or not Pence was actually considering exiting the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential ticket. He claimed it was “absolutely false,” but didn’t really go into any detail about the rumors.

Meanwhile, MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle didn’t waste any time confronting Pence over the stark contrast between Trump’s words and the governor’s expressed distaste for them. Following a brief conversation about Pence’s Christian faith, Ruhle went straight for the jugular about whether or not “grabbing a vagina” was an “act of grace.” For his part, Pence’s facial reaction spoke just as loudly as his pained, awkward response:

“I understand the media’s focus on this. I understand your focus on it. I’m just telling you I’m heading to North Carolina this morning, I was in Rhode Island on Saturday night, and this is just not where the American people are focused. There’s a lot of people anxious around the rise of terrorism in the world. Literally a foreign policy that’s emboldened our enemies and abandoned our friends.”

Pence’s obvious attempt to segue into terrorism, which Trump also tried during Sunday’s debate, backfired spectacularly when Ruhle made mention of her mother, a “lifetime Republican and… Catholic,” who “puts being treated as an equal and with respect” before her chosen political party. The vice presidential hopeful tried to lighten the discussion’s mood by praising Ruhle and her mother, but it left the segment feeling more awkward than not.