Editorial: Pence speaks against Trump far too late

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The (Columbus) Republic

Former Vice President and Columbus native Mike Pence was making the rounds on national television last weekend telling anyone who cares that he could no longer support the campaign of his former boss, Donald Trump, who is seeking to return to the White House.

“I simply cannot in good conscience endorse his candidacy this year,” Pence said about the man who summoned a mob to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, briefly sacking the Capitol in a violent bid to overturn the results of the 2020 election that Trump lost to President Joe Biden. The mob had caused Pence, his family, and members of Congress to literally run for their lives.

“It should come as no surprise that I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year,” Pence finally said, 1,172 days after the mob of Trump supporters violently fought police in hellish hand-to-hand combat and smashed their way into the halls of Congress. The mob’s mission was to stop the peaceful transfer of power that would formally remove Trump from the presidency, as was the will of the American people. Some of the members of the mob famously chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!”

It’s better late than never, we suppose, that Pence has at long last awakened to the smelling salts and proclaimed that he won’t endorse his former boss, who, by his very words, actions and resulting criminal indictments has demonstrated that he was and continues to represent a clear and present danger to the United States.

The problem for Pence is, his announcement that he will not support Trump only serves to solidify the former president’s support among his loyalists who revile Pence anyway. The problem for Pence — and now the problem for the nation he once represented — is that Pence’s words are too little, too late. His moment is long gone.

Pence’s non-endorsement may have mattered had he spoken out resolutely when the wounds of Jan. 6 were fresh. It might have mattered had he treated Jan. 6 with the nation-threatening gravity that it required. He didn’t. He equivocated. And now, our nation is flirting with disaster.

Soon after Pence’s non-endorsement, Trump, campaigning for a Republican Senate candidate next door in Ohio, said this:

“Now, if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole — that’s going to be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country.”

Let those words sink in. Read them again.

A bloodbath?

Does this sound like a stable genius or anyone who should be permitted in the White House, even on a tour?

What on earth have we become as a nation when someone seeking the highest office in the land, representing all of the American people, says this, and it is not universally condemned?

This is beyond “Trump being Trump,” as his enablers have forever excused his irresponsible, increasingly unhinged and violent rhetoric. When Trump refers to those who were tried and convicted for their crimes on that horrible day of Jan. 6 as “hostages,” his supporters cheer. No. They had due process. They have a certain release date. Meanwhile, innocent Americans are actually being held hostage in Gaza and elsewhere.

America’s political problem is familiar: Trump will say anything, and Pence won’t say nearly enough.

The (Columbus) Republic is a sister newspaper to the Daily Reporter.