On MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, fill-in host John Heilemann and guest Kurt Andersen teamed up Tuesday to ridicule former Vice President Mike Pence as a “wimp and a pussy” after Pence uttered the objectively true statement that an indictment of former President Trump would be “terribly divisive in the country at a time when the American people want to see us heal.”
Andersen mocked Pence as like a sentient AI computer trying to navigate between two conflicting imperatives: “That’s what it’s like. It splits the difference.” Heilemann snickered: “It’s only true if sentient AI is given the intelligence and vocabulary of a very, very sheltered, very, very conservative high school student — like the squarest person you knew growing up in Omaha, Nebraska.”
Andersen said Pence’s approach meant he would “only look like what Donald Trump called him, which is to say a wimp and a pussy, even more by saying, ‘Uh, I don’t think we should indict this guy...’” and predicted the former Vice President would perform badly if he entered the 2024 Republican primaries.
MSNBC’s derisive attacks on Mike Pence were sponsored by Tide laundry detergent.
Here’s video of the segment, followed by the relevant transcript (click expand):
MSNBC’s Deadline: White House
December 20, 2022, 5:28pm ET
JOHN HEILEMANN: Whenever I see Pence, I just think, he — Donald Trump threw you to the lions. If you and your family would have been killed that day, he would have been fine with that, totally fine. And in fact, he encourage, basically, that. “Put your lives, your family’s lives at risk.” And now this man, who aspires, apparently, to be the next President of the United States, thinks that the right political calculation is to be, “Donald Trump is a bad guy, but, ah, please don’t indict him, cuz, although he tried to have me and my family killed, we wouldn’t want to see him punished in any way.” I just — what does it say about the enduring power of Trump? About the enduring — about the continued state of rot that is the Republican Party — despite our discussions in the past hour that “Hey, maybe Trump is dead,” that [Pence’s stance against indictment] tells a different story?
KURT ANDERSEN: Well, it certainly tells a story about Mike Pence, of whom I often thought is, if AI ever gets sentient, that’s what it’s like. It splits the difference: “Wait, there’s people I don’t want to make angry; okay, this is what I’ll say.” It’s not a real lane, it’s not a political lane, for a guy who will only look like what Donald Trump called him, which is to say a wimp and a pussy, even more by saying, “Uh, I don't think we should indict this guy who said, ‘well, maybe, Mike deserves it’” on the day his life was being threatened. So there’s that. But, so, I think we’ll see it when he doesn’t get the nomination, and gets single digits in primaries, that that isn’t working and it has been for naught to try to play that lane.
HEILEMANN: I will say that I think the notion of Mike Pence is that expression of sentient AI would be like — it’s only true if sentient AI is given the intelligence and vocabulary of a very, very sheltered, very, very conservative high school student — like the squarest person you knew growing up in Omaha, Nebraska.