Mike Pence made a campaign stop this morning with the three very friendly and helpful cohosts of Fox & Friends. They helped the former VP fear monger about immigration and the border wall and pretend that President Joe Biden has “stifled” the economy.
First, cohost Ainsley Earhardt misleadingly suggested that the Biden administration’s possible legal settlement to families separated under the Trump/Pence policy of cruelty represented some kind of handout. “We’re being told President Biden is planning on giving illegal immigrants who were separated from their parents, giving them EACH [her emphasis] $450,000. That could be nearly a million dollars per family. What’s your reaction?” “Tough journalist not in the tank for the Trump administration” Earhardt didn't bother to tell viewers that the possible payments are not welfare of any kind but are potential legal settlements being negotiated by the Department of Justice and the families’ lawyers in their tort cases over the separations.
Pence called the settlements “totally unacceptable.” Nobody mentioned that the cases, which would probably take up a good chunk of DOJ resources and funds, are much the fault of the Trump administration for failing to have a system to quickly reunite the families, nor that the Biden administration has had to establish a probably-costly task force to reunify them.
Later, Steve Doocy somewhat filled in the missing information but he wrapped the truth in a lot of MAGA messaging. First, he read, i.e. promoted, a tweet by Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw that also distorted the potential payments and let Trump off the hook: “Biden wants to pay illegal immigrants $450,000 for their hardship while breaking our laws. For perspective, if a service member is killed in action, their next of kin gets an insurance payment of $400,000.”
Doocy said the Biden payments were because the cases “involved a child and a parent” but then Doocy quickly moved to demonize the families and justify the separations:
DOOCY: The reason these families have hired these lawyers, or the lawyers have found these families, is because of the 2018 policy, the Trump/Pence policy where there was zero tolerance. You come in the country, you’re gonna get arrested. And some family units came in and there were children with the parents but you can’t keep kids in the same facility, so THAT’s why they were separated.
Instead, Pence came up with what is surely a campaign message we’re bound to hear over and over: “The important thing is for people to remember, under the Trump/Pence administration, we had solved the crisis of illegal immigration at our southern border. And President Biden and his administration reinvented it!”
There was no pushback to that ridiculous claim. In reality, the Trump administration played a role in the current border problems.
Pence also claimed, “It’s remarkable to think that under our administration, we built 400 miles of border wall, and literally by implementing what was known as the remain in Mexico policy, we reduced illegal immigration by 90%. President Biden rescinded that policy on Day One. It’s being litigated in courts right now.”
FACT CHECK: The border wall grew by only 40 miles under Pence/Trump. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the wall is questionable, at best. After detailing its numerous flaws, a Reason article summed up, “The whole project has always been just a lot of hot air.”
Not surprisingly, nobody pushed back on any of Pence’s border claims, either.
The three propagandists pivoted to attack Biden over the economy. “It’s unbelievable what’s happening in our country,” Earhardt exclaimed in horror.
Pence said, “Before the COVID pandemic hit, we had seen seven million jobs created in this country, we were bringing manufacturing jobs back, but we did that by cutting taxes, rolling back regulation, unleashing American energy, and fighting for free and fair trade. This administration, from its very early days, has been trying to spend and tax our way back into a growing economy.”
“Tough journalist” Earhardt and her two cohosts failed to point out that the deficit has shrunk by billions under Biden after ballooning to a new high under Trump and Pence, despite Trump’s promise to eliminate it. Nor did anyone mention that Biden’s child tax credit lifted three million children out of poverty in July, 2021.
Also not surprisingly, after overseeing an administration that failed spectacularly at managing the coronavirus pandemic, Pence whined that vaccine mandates are “driving people out of the work force” and are “a threat to public safety.” Nobody said a word about how anti-vaxxers are a threat to public health, as Fox’s own Neil Cavuto can attest.
Not surprisingly, Doocy and “not in the tank” Earhardt preferred to suck up to Pence (and to avid viewer Trump) rather than challenge him or to stand with their colleague Cavuto, who has pleaded for people to get vaccinated.
The conversation moved on to the Virginia election, promoting the Republican candidate there and the GOP dog whistle attacks on critical race theory.
You can watch all the propaganda below, from the October 29, 2021 Fox & Friends.
First, the Pence White House never had any intention of paying any DOJ settlements to any families. Their idea was to say NO and to refuse to do anything. They had never intended to reunify the families, which is why the process became so belabored. The whole point was to make life miserable for immigrant families, and to make it clear that you really wouldn’t want to bring your kids to the US, would you?
As far as the Pence White House was concerned, brutalizing the families and making people stay in the Mexican desert was “solving” the “crisis”. That, and constantly harping on the idea of building their “big beautiful wall” that Mexico was supposedly going to be forced to pay for. In reality, this was just bullying people who could not defend themselves. The “wall” work was actually just a lot of maintenance of existing fenceline, along with a tiny amount of new extension.
Next, regarding the economy, Pence is openly lying. Pence inherited a growing economy from President Obama, and proceeded to squander its momentum while spending his time ripping up needed environmental protections just for the nastiness of it. The manufacturing jobs did not in fact return to the US – multiple factories like the Carrier plant in Indiana were shuttered anyway even after Pence and his childish spokesman said they were saved. The “tax cut” was actually a massive tax increase for Middle Class employees and particularly for those who live in Blue States. People in the Lower Middle and Working Class wound up seeing a negligible “cut” of 5 to 7 bucks per week that they’d never notice. The farther up the Middle Class you went, the more the taxes would jump, as the brackets were increased and the deductions were erased. But once you passed $418K, you saw another deduction, so that anyone earning over $750K was actually looking at a real cut (making up for the increases along the way), and anyone earning millions was looking at significant cuts. And how did the wealthy celebrate? By continuing to offshore their money. Anyone actually paying attention to tax policy knows the 2017 maneuver as the GOP Tax Transfer.
We should remember that the intention was to generate a massive deficit, which would then have triggered new legislation in 2019 to “reduce entitlements” – ie, cut Social Security and Medicare. Had the GOP maintained their majorities in the midterms, those programs would have been hit with significant reductions for anyone under the age of 60. When the GOP lost instead, they reverted to just refusing to address the funding issues for the programs – which is a slower way of accomplishing the same task. We should also remember that the Pence White House’s utter failure with COVID mostly ended the stronger economy they’d inherited from the Obama White House.
Regarding CRT, it’s a non-issue that angry Right Wingers are frantically trumpeting in the hopes they can gin up their base to vote in 2022. And they’re frantically trying to gaslight the very real problem of Right Wingers threatening their teachers and school boards with violence as some kind of “free speech” issue as opposed to one of attempted bullying and coercion. The VA governor’s race is one that angry Right Wingers are latching onto, as they hope to humiliate Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday.
Regarding both COVID and its effect on the economy, the Pence White House deliberately refused to do their job and allowed over 700,000 Americans to die. This was due to Pence and his childish spokesman having defunded agencies like the CDC and having dismissed key personnel who could have headed off the pandemic. It was exacerbated by the Pence White House ignoring the extent of the problem until it had spread to a catastrophic level, and then exacerbated worse by angry Right Wingers attempting to play politics with the situation to promote themselves for the 2020 campaigns. Had Pence’s childish spokesman not spent the first quarter of 2020 insisting that COVID was a “hoax”, and had the Pence White House actually worked aggressively to curtail the pandemic, the economy would not have receded as it did.
Lastly, as to why Pence was selected to be our acting president, the reasoning is pretty clear. First, Pence is a hardline Right Winger in the mold of Ted Cruz. His policies and his smug piousness were exactly the thing that angry Right Wingers around the US have long wanted to see on display from a sitting president. The policies themselves went down the line of the wish lists of shock jock bigots like Rush Limbaugh: Ripping up every single policy of the Obama White House, deliberately sabotaging the ability of governmental agencies to function (and thus then say that those agencies don’t function), sneering in the face of non-Right Wingers and most importantly, packing the courts with rammed-through Far Far Right Wing idealogues. Pence was totally on board with all of that, and was happy to make sure it would come to pass.
And the other part of the reasoning is that Pence was willing to do all this work without getting the glory for doing it. He was willing to take the offer that Donald Trump Jr was frantically giving to anyone he could find – the offer that Jr made to John Kasich, to run all the domestic and foreign policy for the White House while Trump spent his time “making America great again”. From Pence’s perspective, this was a golden opportunity, and he wouldn’t have to worry about anyone spending time looking too closely at what he was doing. Not every politician would have agreed to working this way, which is why Jr couldn’t find anyone else to do it. Ted Cruz, for his part, wanted to be able to get all the credit for the viciousness and not have to do it while Trump got the attention for his latest Tweets. Which is why Cruz spent the last 4 years as one of the angriest men in America – he was able to see his wish list satisfied, but he didn’t get any credit for it and had to stand on the sidelines and half-heartedly cheer for Pence’s childish spokesman.
I’ll note that Pence was finally unwilling to give Trump what he wanted in stealing the 2020 Election, but I don’t believe this was out of principle. Pence clearly wanted to finagle another term for himself, but this would have been in full view of the entire country, without the usual distractions allowing him to work in the shadows. And while provocateurs like John Eastman would have been delighted to do something blatant and in everybody’s faces, Pence wasn’t comfortable with that level of exposure. So he shrunk away from it.