Vice President Mike Pence's four years of faithful service to President Donald Trump will culminate in a ceremonial act he's under increasing pressure not to perform.
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By Bob Gaydos
Donald Trump, as he often brags, is all about branding. Indeed, his entire career has been about slapping his name on something " and then running it into the ground through incompetence and illegal practices.
Thus far, nothing, be it a casino, a college or a charity, has escaped his capacity for self-destruction, for tarnishing the one thing he loves above all his brand.
Now, as he challenges the certified results of a fair election with lies, threats and hints of violence, he's in the midst of his most ambitious destructive campaign of all. The target is the Constitution. Our Constitution. The one all Americans supposedly learned lessons about in school, but millions of us, including some Republican members of Congress, have apparently forgotten..
Trump's four years in office have been a non-stop assault on the rule of law and the principles laid out by the nation's founders more than two centuries ago. They have also been a gross insult to the office of the presidency as he has sought, by hook or by crook, to put his brand on it. Loyalty to him was rewarded. Independence and respect for the law was attacked. Political rivals became enemies to be ridiculed, much in the manner of the schoolyard bully.
Always, though, like the bully, when push came to shove, if Trump did not have sycophants to protect him (Senate Republicans on his impeachment), he retreated into his world of lies and lawsuits. His lawsuits on the election results were farcical and insulting. His lies " well he clearly can't stop. That leaves threat. As usual, it's couched in language intended to sound positive.
"I hope Mike Pence comes through for us," Trump said Monday night in Georgia, where he was supposedly campaigning for two corrupt Republican senators who deserve to be stripped of their jobs.
I'd say poor Mike Pence, but the mute Vice President deserves to be put on the spot: Declare Trump the winner even though the votes and the Constitution say otherwise. Pence has no choice Wednesday but to declare Joe Biden the next president, then prepare for the insults from Trump. Pence knows that. But instead of walking in to the Oval Office and invoking the 25th Amendment and making himself president for a few weeks, he's let the Trump enablers in the Senate have their moment of seditious drama, intended for the audience of loyal Trumpsters. It's a cynical ploy worthy of Trump, who clearly has put his brand on the once-proud Republican Party. May it suffer the fate of his other brand ventures.
But while applying his unmistakable brand to the GOP, Trump has also left a stain on the presidency and the Constitution that is worse than anything he has done in private life ... that we know about thus far.
And so, as Georgia counts votes tonight and Congress counts votes tomorrow, millions of Americans stand by, with masks, sanitizer and gallons of tarnish remover, to help President-elect Joe Biden scrub and scrape the stain and stench of the Trump name from the presidency and ensure that the Constitution, though somewhat bruised, has not been rebranded. That Trump has failed once again.
Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com