By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The day after: Pence’s integrity, Cheney’s revenge and Cipollone’s weakness

Mike Pence. Photo (cc) 2016 by Gage Skidmore.

Three quick thoughts on Thursday’s hearing by the Jan. 6 commission.

• I know a lot of people on my side of the ideological divide who give Mike Pence little credit for his actions during the attempted violent coup. I disagree. Look, he’s a religious-right Republican who was attached to Donald Trump at the hip from the moment Trump picked him as his running mate. But when everything was on the line, Pence didn’t hesitate to act with courage and integrity. He deserves our gratitude.

• Like everyone, I laughed at the video of Josh Hawley hightailing it away from the insurrectionist mob. But my reaction to the slo-mo replay was one of awed appreciation. It struck me as Liz Cheney’s handiwork — a giant “screw you” to a highly deserving target. She learned at the feet of the master. She can’t waterboard Hawley, although she’d probably like to. But she can humiliate him. Well done.

• I am weirdly fascinated by former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who is either the best of the bad guys or the worst of the good guys. He’s certainly no hero. Yes, he may have been among the last people in Trump’s inner circle who was giving him rational, reality-based advice, but so what? And he’s still protecting Trump, refusing to answer questions about what Trump told him under the guise of attorney-client privilege.

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  1. Lex Alexander

    A couple of thoughts:

    Yes, Pence deserves credit for what he did (or, more accurately, refused to do) on Jan. 6. But he long ago should have testified before the committee. He refuses to do so to this day, which means he is putting his personal presidential ambitions (which are baseless; the GOP would never nominate him) above the best interests of democracy.

    Liz Cheney is her father’s daughter: Not only did she stick the knife in firmly and deeply, she also gave it a good TWIST to ensure that it severed the spinal cord of Josh Hawley’s presidential ambitions. That was an outstanding public service.

    Cipillone is a weasel. The White House counsel doesn’t work for the president; he works for the people. Accordingly, he should enjoy no privilege, and the fact that he says he still does tells you where his true loyalty lies. Privilege doesn’t permit you to cover up a crime.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Very good point about who Cipollone was working for.

  2. Steve Bacher

    As much as I credit Pence for doing the right thing when it counted, I wouldn’t say that he did it without hesitation. From what I remember reading, he consulted with a number of others, most notably former VP Dan Quayle, to see if there was any Constitutional way to avoid going against the President. When he concluded that there wasn’t, then he decided to “act with courage and integrity.”

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