Trump can’t keep Pence in the dark
Several presidents have treated their vice presidents notoriously and sometimes irresponsibly badly.
The late President Harry Truman knew all about that. When he took office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, he had to be told about the atomic bomb. Roosevelt had kept him in the dark.
Vice President Mike Pence should not be subjected to such treatment. His boss, President Donald Trump, allegedly failed to tip Pence off that former national security adviser Gen. Mike Flynn lied to him in a way that embarrassed the vice president publicly.
You may be familiar with the Flynn episode. He resigned from his post this week, because of controversy over his contact with a Russian diplomat in December and early January – before Trump took office and appointed Flynn as national security adviser.
It does not appear Flynn broke any laws in talking with the diplomat about U.S. sanctions against Russia. But when he discussed the conversations with Pence, he told the vice president sanctions had not come up in the talks.
Later, Pence was asked about the contacts by a reporter. He responded that Flynn had told him sanctions were not discussed.
Pence was upset about being misled by Flynn, of course.
But it was reported that Trump knew weeks ago that Flynn had misled the president – and did not inform Pence.
It is up to presidents and their vice presidents to handle their working relationships, of course. Pence is far from the first person in his position to have suffered ill treatment at the hands of a president.
Coming just weeks into the Trump presidency, however, the Pence episode is disquieting. A substantial number of voters last fall set aside concerns about Trump’s temperament and voted for him in large measure because they respected Pence, after all.
Trump is going to need all the friends and political allies he can get in Washington. For his own good – as well as that of the nation – let us hope he turns over a new leaf in his relationship with Pence.