When Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood tape first exploded during the 2016 presidential campaign, rumors swirled regarding Mike Pence’s desire to remove himself from the Republican ticket. Trump’s pick for vice president later went on television to debunk the rumors and reaffirm his support for the nominee but not before publicly denouncing the infamous comments heard in the tape. Seeing as how the two man are now more or less comfortably installed into the White House, you would think their previous disagreements were no more. According to a recent profile of Pence in The New Yorker, however, that is not the case.
Not only was the latter’s wife, Karen Pence, “horrified” by the Access Hollywood tape, but according to a former campaign aide, its contents caused extreme friction between the two men:
Pence refused to take Trump’s calls and sent him a letter saying that he and Karen, as Christians, were deeply offended by his actions and needed to make an “assessment” about whether to remain with the campaign. They urged Trump to pray. When Trump and Pence finally did talk, Pence told him that his wife still had “huge problems” with his behavior.
Yes, Pence did eventually appear on several political talk shows to signal his support for Trump, saying he was “grateful that [the nominee] has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people.” What’s more, a Pence spokesperson The New Yorker “denied that there was any friction over the incident” when contacted by The New Yorker for the profile. Yet other officials with knowledge of the pair’s embattled relationship paint a rather different picture, in which Trump will frequently “let Pence know who’s boss”:
A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, “Did Mike make you pray?”
If that weren’t enough, the president also apparently takes great joy in teasing the vice president over his “views on abortion and homosexuality”:
During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. “You see?” Trump asked Pence. “You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.” When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy — he wants to hang them all!”
Considering Trump’s pre- and post-presidential campaign statements regarding abortion and LGBTQ rights, his alleged comments here cast even more doubt on precisely what — if any — position the president holds on these matters. That they reportedly continue to serve as a source of friction between himself and his vice president, however, is undoubtedly new (though not surprising).
(Via The New Yorker)