By Bryan Ault
Last August, my wife and I were walking on the beach on an island in Georgia. The sun was setting just behind us, painting the sky with a wonderful mix of orange and blue colors. The fading lights of shrimp boats dotted the horizon. Very few people were out walking at the time.
Bryan Ault is a freelance writer.
We stopped to sit underneath a small building overlooking the beach and water, just to talk. A car pulled up behind us. An older couple got out of the car and we struck up a conversation. They were from South Carolina and clad in Clemson football gear.
We told them that we were from Indiana. Suddenly the conversation shifted from Clemson’s football team to politics. The woman said that she truly respected our former governor, Mike Pence, who was Donald Trump’s running mate at the time and our current vice president.
I found that to be surprising. The former governor was not well liked by local media. Columnists at The Indianapolis Star and The Statehouse File have written many times over about his tenure at a job he left many months ago.
After I explained that Pence would’ve faced a tough reelection campaign, the woman was surprised to know that he wasn’t well liked in his own state. Just before she and her husband walked away toward the beach for an evening stroll, she looked out over the blue water, and said something I didn’t forget.
“I wish we had him instead of the other guy.”
That conversation comes to mind as news broke in The Washington Post that President Trump revealed secrets to two Russian diplomats in a closed-door White House meeting last week. Allegedly, President Trump shared information about an Israeli operative within the Islamic State. Not only does that put the life of that operative in danger, it also damages our relationship with our only ally in the Middle East.
Then an associate of former FBI Director James Comey released a huge report to The New York Times. The report stated that Trump asked Comey to stop investigating Michael Flynn and his potential ties to Russia.
In less than a week the Trump presidency has gone into a free fall. ABC and FOX News couldn’t get a Republican to defend the president during the prime time news coverage hours.
In fact, they’re slowly starting to turn against him. At the time of this writing, Susan Collins (Maine) and Adam Kinzinger (Illinois) are among the Republicans who have voiced openness to a special prosecutor. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, compared the situation to Watergate, and added “it’s not good for the country.” Re p. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah and chairman of the very important Oversight and Government Reform Committee, requested Comey’s documents, and through Twitter said “if it exists, I need to see it sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready.”
Which brings me back to that conversation with the South Carolina couple – and the words of that woman.
The possibility of Pence becoming our president is increasing not with each passing month or week or day, but with each passing hour. He has been quiet lately. It could be that Trump has told him to keep his mouth shut. Or maybe, just maybe, the possibility of him being the leader of the free world is weighing upon his shoulders.
If it comes to that, it’s hard to find a president outside of Lincoln who has inherited a worse situation. Or maybe it is worse. Pence would take over a broken country that faces a number of international threats – the Islamic State, North Korea, Iran, and Russia. The Columbus, Indiana native – whose political career seemed dead just one year ago – would become the leader of the free world.
Trump is not a conservative, but his vice president is. Strip away his social views and you will see a man who is qualified for the job, who doesn’t lash out or slam some of our country’s long-standing institutions or people who disagree with him. Rather than pushing a social agenda, Pence, in the Oval Office, would be more concerned about winning back the trust of the people, unifying the country, and fighting terrorism. Even Indianapolis Star columnist Matt Tully, Pence’s biggest media critic, deemed Pence an upgrade over Trump.
I lean right. If you do, too, I have a message for you – to keep blaming it on media bias does nothing to solve the problem. For the safety and future of the United States and perhaps the world, it’s time to demand from your GOP members of Congress to appoint a special prosecutor or push for the president to resign, if you haven’t already.
And maybe make a South Carolina woman’s wish come true.
Bryan Ault is a freelance writer.