Keeping up with the chaos of the Trump White House can make it easy to forget just how dangerous a President Mike Pence could be. As speculation mounts about the 2018 midterms—and whether Democrats could take back the House and impeach Donald Trump—some have started to consider a Pence presidency, as The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer did in a lengthy new profile of the current VP.
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway put it best when she labeled Pence as a “full-spectrum conservative.” He opposes abortion, women’s reproductive freedom, and LGBTQ rights—and has a lengthy history of working to block policies and institutions (like Planned Parenthood) that work to protect them. In fact, Pence’s conservatism has been so staunch, even Trump has taken to making fun of him for his beliefs.
As one longtime associate told Mayer, Trump likes to “let Pence know who’s boss.” Another staffer revealed that when people meet with Pence before dropping in with Trump, he will ask, “Did Mike make you pray?”
And when it comes to gay rights and abortion, Trump has further heckled his vice president’s fundamentalism. Per The New Yorker:
“Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views onabortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar,Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. Thelegal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many stateswould likely legalize abortion on their own. ‘You see?’ Trump askedPence. ‘You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s notgoing to end abortion anyway.’ When the conversation turned to gayrights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, ‘Don’t ask that guy—hewants to hang them all!’
So, yeah—President Pence may not start a nuclear war with North Korea, but there’s still plenty of damage he can do at home. For more about Pence’s political history, be sure to check out Mayer’s full profile: “The Danger of President Pence.”