Opinion | Hence, Mike Pence

 

WASHINGTON — The destiny of a sycophant is rarely a contented one.

At first, you assume that fawning over the boss is an efficient method to transfer ahead. But if you end up coping with a narcissist — and narcissists are those who prefer to be surrounded by sycophants — you possibly can by no means be unctuous sufficient.

Narcissists are Grand Canyons of want. The extra they’re flattered, the extra their urge for food for flattery grows.

That is the exhausting, virtually deadly, lesson Pence discovered on Jan. 6, when he lastly stood as much as Donald Trump after Trump requested for one teensy favor: Help destroy American democracy and all we stand for.

Two new pictures proven at a listening to of the House committee investigating Jan. 6 inform a stunning story — one of the vital unimaginable in our nation’s historical past.

In one, Karen Pence is protectively pulling a gold-fringed curtain shut within the vp’s ceremonial workplace within the Capitol, off the Senate flooring, as Pence — sitting beneath a big gilt mirror — stares off into house, in all probability questioning the place all of it went mistaken.

We discovered this week that when the vp fled down the steps, adopted by an Air Force officer carrying the nuclear launch codes, the marauding mob was just a few ft from him.

In a second image, taken after Pence was delivered to a safe location in an underground storage, his daughter Charlotte is anxiously watching him. He is holding a cellphone to his ear as he stares at one other cellphone exhibiting a video of Trump professing love for the group, which included some who carried baseball bats and zip ties and chanted “Hang Mike Pence!”

In the early afternoon, as the group tore down barricades and fought police, White House staffers nervous issues have been “getting out of hand,” as Sarah Matthews, a Trump aide, testified.

They thought that the president wanted to tweet one thing instantly. At 2:24 p.m., they obtained a notification that the president had certainly tweeted. But it was not the calming tweet they’d hoped for; it was one designed to drive the rioters right into a frenzy.

“Mike Pence didn’t have the braveness to do what ought to have been carried out to guard our Country and our Constitution, giving States an opportunity to certify a corrected set of information, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they have been requested to beforehand certify,” Trump tweeted. “USA calls for the reality!”

As Matthews recalled in her deposition, “The scenario was already unhealthy, and so it felt like he was pouring gasoline on the hearth by tweeting that.”

Trump was nonetheless steaming from the contentious morning cellphone name when he failed to influence the vp to reject a number of the states’ electors in order that they could possibly be changed with pretend electors who supported Trump. He had railed at Pence with emasculating epithets.

As Trump recalled in a speech on Friday in Nashville, “I mentioned to Mike, ‘If you do that, you will be Thomas Jefferson.’ And then, after all of it went down, I checked out him someday and mentioned, ‘I hate to say this, however you’re no Thomas Jefferson.’”

In the identical speech, Trump had one other line that was strikingly delusional, even for him. “For the unconventional left,” he mentioned, “politics has turn into their faith. It has warped their judgment of right and wrong. They don’t have a judgment of right and wrong, true and false, good and evil.”

Trump sparked the mob to hunt vengeance towards Pence the identical approach Henry II sparked a crew to homicide Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170. According to legend, after Becket defied Henry by excommunicating bishops supportive of the king, Henry muttered one thing to the impact of, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” Four knights instantly rode to Canterbury Cathedral and sliced up Becket.

The line grew to become a well-known instance of directing loyalists with indirection, cloaking an order as a want. Who will rid me of this meddlesome vp?

A Times video, exhibiting how the Proud Boys breached the Capitol, underscored that inside the confederacy of dunces, there was an precise organized conspiracy. The group started plotting even earlier than the election to take up arms for Trump. When Trump barked “Stand again and stand by” concerning the Proud Boys throughout his debate with Joe Biden, the Proud Boys felt as if they’d obtained a directive, like Henry’s knights.

With every listening to, it turns into clearer that Trump has no believable deniability. He put the lives of the vp and his household in danger, in addition to the lives of lawmakers, by sending a crowd, stewing in lies, right into a frenzy.

Pence didn’t have the facility to do what Trump wished, and it’s good that he resisted the insane, unlawful and unconstitutional plan of the narcissist within the Oval. But Pence nonetheless needs it each methods. He has steered away from the committee. He needs to turn into president by staying on the nice aspect of Trump supporters, however they’re by no means going to forgive him.

At the top of the day of infamy, John Eastman, the nutty lawyer attempting to assist Trump overturn the election, despatched an e mail imploring Pence to adjourn the congressional certification so sympathetic state legislators might assist with Trump’s fairy story of a rigged election.

When Greg Jacob, Pence’s counsel, confirmed the e-mail to the vp, Pence mentioned, “That’s rubber room stuff.”

The destiny of a sycophant is rarely a contented one.


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