With all the talk of impeaching President Trump, there hasn’t been that much consideration of what comes next. That’s exactly what a new book attempts to highlight; if we get rid of Trump, do we really want Mike Pence in his place?
The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence went on sale this Tuesday, In it, authors Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner argue that Pence is “the most successful Christian supremacist in American history.” The book also claims that Pence is acting as a “kind of replacement president” and is laying the groundwork to “fashion a nation more pleasing to his god and corporate sponsors.”
Anyone who follows the Trump saga knows that this isn’t the first time people have tried to draw attention to Pence’s religious extremism. The book claims that many of Pence’s evangelical friends believe he wants to govern with the ideology of “Christian Dominionism,” which seeks to have a nation governed by Christians under biblical law. As USA Today points out, the Human Rights Campaign launched an initiative earlier this year to highlight his atrocious record when it comes to LGBT rights. Calling him one of the “greatest threats to equality.”
Before the 2016 election, attention was brought to Pence’s past pushes to have religious ideology included in classroom lessons in public schools.
During an impassioned speech on the House floor in 2002, Pence regurgitated the ignorant ‘evolution is only a theory’ theme, and declared that “intelligent design” should be taught to children as a scientific alternative with equal weight.
“I believe that God created the known universe, the earth and everything in it, including man,” Pence said. “And I also believe that someday scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe.”
“I would simply and humbly ask, can we teach it as such and can we also consider teaching other theories of the origin of species?” Pence continued. “Like the theory that was believed in by every signer of the Declaration of Independence. Every signer of the Declaration of Independence believed that men and women were created and were endowed by that same Creator with certain unalienable rights. The Bible tells us that God created man in his own image, male and female. He created them.”
The idea that Pence wants creationism taught on ‘equal footing’ with established science is misleading. “Intelligent design,” by definition, cannot exist without the presumption that the theory of evolution is false. Christians encroaching on the public sphere want to pull a cloak over the eyes of children, shielding them from the wide array of knowledge that proves the theory of evolution to be an expanding science that’s based in fact, and having Mike Pence at the head White House would be a priceless gift.
There’s no evidence that Pence’s views on these anti-science beliefs have moderated.
The book warns that Pence is waiting in the wings in the event that the Trump presidency folds — an assertion that was echoed by White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.
“As bad as you think Trump is, you should be worried about Pence,” she said on an episode of Celebrity Big Brother just after she left the White House. “He thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”
From the book:
The troublesome Donald Trump, that imperfect vessel, had been means to an end. The investigations into the Russia scandal and other matters, which produced indictments and guilty pleas of Trump allies, could provoke Trump’s resignation or even impeachment. If, somehow, Donald Trump survived his first term and were re-elected, Pence could wait. He was a young man of patience, the patience of Job.
According to the authors, Pence’s kind and polite exterior is just an act meant to “weaponize his niceness.” Pence’s “pious and cautious exterior” hides a “desire for power equal to Trump’s.”
But according to NPR’s Annalisa Quinn, the book is a “missed opportunity” get dig down and get to the core of who Mike Pence really is.
The Shadow President is, above all, a missed opportunity. There is plenty to uncover about the “real” Mike Pence. Read, for instance, Jane Mayer’s careful, fact-based, and damning portrait of Pence in The New Yorker, “The Danger of President Pence,” which relied on sources in the White House and Pence’s family to argue convincingly that Pence is an extremist with an agenda more harmful than Donald Trump’s. Or McKay Coppins’s excellent feature on Pence’s religion in The Atlantic, “God’s Plan for Mike Pence.” The Shadow President, in contrast, leaves you with nothing but questions: What is the truth about Mike Pence? What does he actually believe? How did the apostles get Mexican food?
Featured image via Gage Skidmore (Flickr)