Anyone looking to tune in to the Republican National Convention this week to hear from the man the GOP is seeking to send to Washington to run the country needs to adjust their DVRs, because that speech won’t be given by Republican presidential nominee and apocalyptic circus peanut Donald Trump on Thursday. Rather, it will be given by the party’s vice-presidential nominee, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, on Wednesday night.
So what gives? Well, it’s not entirely surprising. See, Trump has, throughout his campaign, made it clear that he believes that being president is a really easy job ― no sweat for him! But if you want to get a sense of just how easy Trump imagines the office to be, you should check out the Robert Draper’s account of how Trump came to select Pence as his running mate in The New York Times Magazine. It begins with Trump’s eldest son making a back-channel overture to Ohio governor John Kasich, offering him the chance to be Trump’s running mate:
One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the presidential race just a few weeks before. As a candidate, Kasich declared in March that Trump was “really not prepared to be president of the United States,” and the following month he took the highly unusual step of coordinating with his rival Senator Ted Cruz in an effort to deny Trump the nomination. But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?
When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
All Dick Cheney jokes aside, let’s remember that the real job of the vice president is actually something like, “being alive on the off-chance the president is not,” not “assuming the duties of the presidency in toto for the duration of the president’s term.” It sort of makes you wonder how Trump envisions the actual role of the country’s chief executive. It certainly made this senior adviser to John Kasich wonder, so he asked Trump’s son what Trump would be doing, if not managing foreign and domestic policy. The response, according to Draper, was: “Making America great again.”
And one wonders why Kasich refuses to endorse Donald Trump. Put yourself in Kasich’s shoes: As he did with the entire GOP field during the primary, Donald Trump never missed the opportunity to mercilessly mock the Ohio governor, referring to him as a loser, and then he turns around and asks him to, essentially, run the country on his behalf. Really, who would have guessed that Donald Trump, in seeking the presidency, wants to claim all of the trappings of the office and none of the responsibility?
At any rate, someone should maybe ask the Indiana governor what he thinks about all of this, given that if America fails to be “great again” after four years of a Trump presidency, it’ll be Pence who’s on the hook for that.
Jason Linkins edits “Eat The Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.