CNN is digging deep with a video that picks apart Donald Trump’s Truth Social posts to explain what Trump is “scared of.”
Here’s the post, which is vintage Trump:
“WOW, it’s finally happened! Liddle’ Mike Pence, a man who was about to be ousted as Governor Indiana until I came along and made him V.P., has gone to the Dark Side. I never told a newly emboldened (not based on his 2% poll numbers!) Pence to put me above the Constitution, or that Mike was ‘too honest.’ He’s delusional, and now he wants to show he’s a tough guy. I once read a major magazine article on Mike. It said he was not a very good person. I was surprised, but the article was right. Sad!”
CNN Weighs In on Donald Trump
The CNN host points out that Pence could be a star witness in Trump’s upcoming trial regarding the events of January 6, 2021, asking, isn’t this witness intimidation?
“The lawyer wants to protect the First Amendment. That’s the most important thing. I hope this lawyer has a very wide strike zone. Donald Trump is running for president. Mike Pence is running against him. He should have a perfect right to criticize Pence. This to me doesn’t cross the line the way the veiled threat does. ‘I’m coming after you.’ That’s different than saying ‘Oh Pence is a failed politician’ and you know, like I’m okay with that. But there’s an old saying Zell Miller, late Georgia Governor, one of my mentors in this business said, ‘a hit dog will holler.’”
“And so when Trump is yelling at somebody it’s because he’s afraid. He’s never criticized Pence before because Pence is at like two percent. So why is he all the sudden criticizing Mike Pence? I think because as now we know Trump said he’s just too honest. Pence is going to get in that trial, he’s going to put his hand on that Bible, for Mike Pence it won’t be the first time. I think the only two times Trump ever touched the Bible is when he was sworn in. But Pence is gonna tell the truth. And I think that’s what has Trump so scared. And that’s why he’s attacking him on his social media.”
Let’s Unpack Begala’s Statement
First of all, I was deeply encouraged that Begala dismissed the CNN host’s proposal that Trump’s statement might be witness tampering. Give me a break. I appreciate Begala sticking up for the First Amendment, which is going to need some defenders as we move into a very public trial about whether or not the president’s words constitute an affront to democracy.
Second, I don’t believe the post in question is the first time Trump has criticized Pence. Begala is mistaken there. Trump has been demeaning Pence for awhile now.
Third, I think Begala could be onto something with his “a hit dog will holler” insight. Trump could certainly view Pence as a threat. In legal terms potentially, and also in political terms. Despite Trump’s framing of Pence as a failed politician, Trump’s selection of Pence as VP in 2016 (and 2020) was not charity. It was strategic. It was about the evangelical right, and it was about heartland swing states. Trump needed both the evangelicals and the heartland to win the election, and he knew Pence would give the New York real estate mogul some credibility in middle America. That hasn’t changed. Trump still needs those demographics to win. Having Pence out there criticizing Trump is more harmful to Trump’s cause than, say, having Joe Biden out there criticizing Trump.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.