The United States Capital was closed Thursday. The House was out of session. It wasn't not because of a holiday, but due to real and eminent threats (again) against members of congress by militia groups. They are hellbent on returning their dear leader to power, who under their warped theory was to be inaugurated last week. Some were organizing and seeking to activate tyranny entirely for one reason: the big lie of fraud that continues to be perpetrated about the 2020 presidential election.
Congress will continue to shut down if these threats continue, and they likely will, and the danger of death and destruction will lurk until the lies stop. Mike Pence and his family witnessed that destruction and narrowly escaped death on January 6, the first time the insurrectionists attempted to overthrow our government. If anyone learned a lesson that day, it should be Pence, right?
Hardly. Pence had the audacity to express his concern about the “integrity” of the 2020 election where, according to CNN, he cited "significant" and "troubling" voting irregularities in an op-ed for the conservative publication Daily Signal. It should be no surprise he’s joined the chorus of lying criminals feeding a roaring fire.
Now let’s take a step back before we talk about Pence’s most recent dangerous words. The LGBTQ+ community knows first-hand how Pence’s lies can lead to damage. He has loathed and lied about our community for decades. Pence’s op-ed was undoubtedly his first foray into entering the 2024 presidential race. Lies beget lies. And Pence, assuredly, is ready to unleash.
You can be sure, for instance, that he’ll be the first one out of the gate of presumptive Republican candidates to pile on about the false horrors of transgender people, the latest cause du jour of the GOP. He will give the 1992 Pat Buchanan a run for his money as the most virulently anti-LGBTQ candidate in history.
But, before he starts telling lies about transgender student athletes, he will first start lying about the 2020 presidential election.
You may ask yourself, “Mmm, wasn’t there a noose on the Capitol grounds on insurrection day specifically designed for Mike Pence?” “Weren’t the seditionists who ripped their way into the Capitol also looking to rip Pence’s head off?” “That Pence and 'Crazy Nancy' were villains number one and two?” “Didn’t Donald Trump tell the insurrectionists that Mike Pence didn’t have the courage that they did?”
Right! Fair questions, and there’s that attribute, courage. Pence doesn’t have an ounce of it. What kind of a person perpetrates a blatant lie that almost gets him killed? What kind of man rushes out of a building with his family in tow because their lives are in danger, and then validates the motives of the would-be killers? What kind of a religious deity, that Pence purports to be, breaks one of God’s most sacred commandments, “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor?” And uses that false witness to provoke people to break God's fifth commandment, “Thou shall not kill?”
Before he starts telling crowds the bible condemns homosexuality and declares there are only two genders, he will begin by falsely proclaiming this, “Many of the most troubling voting irregularities took place in states that set aside laws enacted by state legislatures in favor of sweeping changes ordered by governors, secretaries of state, and courts.”
That’s what Pence wrote in his op-ed. Is he accusing the judges who threw out the over 60 lawsuits in most of those states, because of their utter ridiculousness, of lying? Is he insinuating that FBI Director Chris Wray is fibbing when he’s repeatedly told Congress there were no irregularities? Does he mean to imply that Bill Barr was not being upfront when he said there was no widespread fraud (ok bad example, but maybe the only time Barr told the truth)? Perhaps Pence is trying to say that former DHS official Chris Krebs was a liar when he said that the 2020 election was the safest in our history?
Well, according to the biblical Pence who pretends to believe that he is not bearing false witness, all those government officials were guilty of breaking the eighth commandment. How ironic that a witness to hordes of neighbors doing much more than bearing false witness on January 6, now claims to be a witness to the false truth about the big lie. And, it should come as no surprise that all of us are now witnessing Pence caving in on the big lie, despite the fact that it nearly killed him and his family.
Perhaps this nugget from Pence’s op-ed best describes what kind of ruthless man he is: “Leftists not only want you powerless at the ballot box, they want to silence and censor anyone who would dare to criticize their unconstitutional power grab.”
What kind of person would promulgate this overtly false propaganda? What kind of person talks about an unconstitutional power grab who witnessed one by his boss? What kind of a person talks about silencing and censoring when the very crux of his call for election reform is to disenfranchise Black and minority voters?
With Pence’s latest scribe, he surely surpasses Hawley, Cruz, Ron Johnson, Taylor Greene and all the rest as the most pathetic politician in American history -- besides Trump of course who really tried that unconstitutional power grab. What will come out of Pence’s mouth next? What will be his crescendo? How do you top lying about a lie that nearly got you killed, and lying about the liar who lied about you?
What he will do is keep on lying, about our community again, to solidify himself as the preeminent pristine, straight, married, middle-aged, reasoned, kind-hearted, bigoted white man. That’s the kind of man Pence tells us that he is. Or is he? Are some of those attributes and others that describe him lies too? Half-truths? Wildly wrong? Lies on top of lies? Who knows the truth about Mike Pence? If it’s coming from Pence, then he’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only thing he’s capable of is lying lower than the lowest lie you can lie about.
And what’s really sick about the whole thing is that he will have absolutely no regrets about the lies he spews. The damage he will create. The lives that will be threatened. The commandments that will be broken. And that is repugnantly regrettable. Militia groups will continue to signal insurrection. The U.S. Capitol will continue to close. Congress will stop working. Members of congress and others will still be at risk because people keep feeding the lie. The United States has a gun to its head, and Pence’s finger in on the trigger.
John Casey is editor at large of The Advocate.