Donald Trump met with potential VP pick Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Friday, according to the New York Times.Now, you've probably run across this argument in the past year: Yes, Trump is awful, but in a lot of ways he's better than most Republicans. He's not really homophobic. He opposed the Iraq War really early. He's not in league with the Koch brothers. And he says he wants to preserve Social Security.
Pence is believed to be on Trump's vice presidential shortlist, which the presumptive nominee has said is down to four or five people.
Pence and his staff have recently denied communication with the Trump campaign. But another NBC report from Thursday also said Pence is among those being vetted for Trump's running mate.
Mike Pence as Trump's running mate would be extremely awful in all of these areas. He'd fill in many of Trump's awfulness gaps.
* Homophobia: Not only did Pence sign a "religious freedom" law that allowed Indiana businesses to discriminate against gay people, he also has a long history of opposition to LGBT rights:
In 2010, Pence signed an open letter by the anti-gay marriage Family Research Council that ran in Politico and the Washington Examiner expressing support for organizations that oppose same-sex marriage and "protect and promote natural marriage and family." (A year earlier, the FRC's Tony Perkins praised Pence for joining a private briefing with local pastors on efforts to pass a traditional "marriage protection amendment." Perkins praised Pence as a "solid ally on this issue in the U.S. House.")A flyer on the website for Pence's 2000 congressional campaign not only denounced the presence of gays in the military but argued for government spending on conversion therapy:
In December 2010, Pence appeared on CNN and argued against repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.... He said that repealing the act would be using the American military "as a backdrop for social experimentation."
... Not surprisingly, during his time in the House, Pence voted "yes" on legislation defining marriage as only between one man and one woman, and he opposed legislation that prohibited workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In 2011, an opinion piece by Wendy Kaminer in The Atlantic quoted Pence arguing that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act "wages war on freedom of religion in the workplace."
• Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s [sic] as a "discreet [sic] and insular minority" entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.
• Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.
* The Iraq War: Wikipedia notes:
Pence supported the joint resolution authorizing military action against Iraq....(Sources at the link.)
During the Iraq War, he opposed setting a public withdrawal date from Iraq. During an April 2007 visit to Baghdad, Pence and John McCain visited Shorja market, the site of a deadly attack in February, 2007, that claimed the lives of 61 people.... Pence and McCain described the visit as evidence that the security situation in Iraqi markets have improved.... The visit was criticized by the New York Times as giving a false indication of how secure the area was due to the extremely heavy security forces McCain brought with him.
* The Koch brothers: Politico, August 2014:
If Mike Pence decides to run for president, he could enter the race with a big advantage from a very important place: Koch World.(Question: Is the Trump campaign vetting Pence in order to gain access to Koch cash?)
The Indiana governor is getting a closer look as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, and there’s a growing sense among GOP operatives that he has a leg up over other contenders when it comes to winning the favor of the political network fronted by the billionaire conservative megadonors Charles and David Koch.
A number of Pence’s former staffers from his days in Congress have assumed major roles in the brothers’ corporate and political spheres. And Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ top political group, has been holding up Pence’s work in Indiana as emblematic of a conservative reform agenda they’re trying to take nationwide.
* Social Security: Not only did Pence support the drive to privatize Social Security in the Bush years, he actually tried criticized Bush from the right on this issue. Here's a 2005 story from Human Events:
Conservative Republican congressmen want action from the Bush Administration on Social Security reform. Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) warned Tuesday that House conservatives are growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of a concrete proposal from President Bush to reform Social Security with personal retirement accounts. “A lot of us House conservatives believe you can’t beat nothing with nothing,” Pence told a gathering of journalists at the Heritage Foundation. “I really believe the time has come for the President of the United States to put a concrete proposal on the front doorstep of Congress and take that proposal in detail to the American people.” Pence, chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, supports a plan known as Ryan-Sununu, named after its sponsors, Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) and Sen. John Sununu (R.-N.H.).Trump is slightly less than horrible on a few issues. He could get to fully horrible with Pence's help.