Not really! We’re not making this up! As reported by Politico, Mike Pence plans to lead the electoral college’s acceptance of the results and leave the city that same day to tour the Middle East and Europe. It would be Pence’s first trip abroad in a year and is timed so that it happens to coincide with the days when Donald Trump is likely to foam and rage more than Donald Trump has ever foamed and raged before. Imagine that. It also comes during a surge in the COVID-19 pandemic that Mike Pence is responsible for combating, which is causing thousands of American deaths every day. This would be a real problem if Mike Pence actually had real pandemic obligations; Fortunately, he doesn’t.
In a somewhat satisfactory account, Politico gives both the cover for Pence’s sudden interest in Israel and Poland and the near-earth political considerations for Pence’s self-orchestrated temporary defenestration. On the premise, Mike Pence will leave to promote the Trump-Kushner Plan for Peace in the Middle East, which now consists of agreeing to sell advanced U.S. weapons to Arab nations for diplomatic recognition of Israel. (Since his early candidacy, Trump has focused on using the presidency to boost gun sales, and that’s actually where we got to quickly.)
In practice, this does not deceive anyone: Politico calls the trip the continuation of a “tactic” with which Pence distanced himself after the election from the worst fascist statements by Trump about fraudulent elections and election victories. As at the beginning of the 2016 campaign, Pence himself methodically played both sides of the fence, reinforcing Trump’s stupid claims against the Republican audience and avoiding anyone in the press who wanted to ask him about it. Politico says a last-minute taxpayer-funded trip to Israel is one way for Pence to further improve his evangelical credentials.
This is also a given, as improving his evangelical credentials and polishing Trump’s shoes were Mike Pence’s only notable concerns throughout his tenure. Mike Pence dreams of a future political career after Donald Trump leaves. Donald Trump thwarted this again with proposals that he will never leave, but will run again for the presidential slash antichrist in four years’ time. So that’s a bit of a sting for Pence’s own ambitions, and it really couldn’t have happened to a flatter and more glamorous amoral guy.
Anyway, it seems that this is actually going to happen. Pence will preside over the final nail in Trump’s re-election coffin, then run immediately to an airport and flee to Europe and the Middle East as the heat subsides. He may or may not pretend his phone is empty throughout his trip to avoid Trump’s angry phone calls. He will certainly not come between his appearance in Congress and his escape to the White House.
About a week later, Pence expects the heat to subside and that both Trump and his foamy, violent fascist diehards get the worst of anger out of their systems and watch TV again, so he’ll sneak back quietly to pretend he’s a garden vegetable for his remaining weeks .
This is all probably the prelude to a spring or summer book by Mike Pence in which he explains that Donald Trump is still wonderful and is basically the second coming of Jesus, but that Mike Pence is even better. So please think of him your future Republican Party needs. It will just be a wave in an ocean of similarly presupposed Republican redemption requests, there will be a large number of Bible quotes that Mike Pence has never tried to put into practice except as campaign material, and it will be utterly intolerable.