One of the looming questions surrounding the Donald Trump administration has been how deeply involved was Vice President Mike Pence with Russia? The vice president recently spent three minutes praising the president during a televised cabinet meeting. Yet, he may simply be waiting to step into Trump’s shoes at a moment’s notice. That makes his actions take on a new importance.
Pence had intended to go to Israel before Christmas break, December 20, but he canceled. The official word was that Trump needed for him to break a tie vote in favor of the Trump tax reform legislation. The so-called “Tax Cut And Jobs Bill” gives tremendous savings to the wealthiest people in the nation, including Trump and his children.
The jobs portion of the bill was based upon the failed concept of “trickle down economics.” President Ronald Reagan tried it, and ended up raising taxes again. President George W. Bush tried it, too, and brought us to the brink of a second Great Depression. Trump Trickle Down simply will not create jobs.
The interesting part of Pence staying in the U.S. to break a potential tie vote was that there could be no tie. There was an odd number of Republicans on the floor, due to Senator John McCain of Arizona’s illness. Then, why did the VP stay stateside?
US Vice President Mike Pence may have postponed his visit, but Palestinian Christians still say Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is spoiling their Christmas pic.twitter.com/2tKA5ZUVRt
— AFP news agency (@AFP) December 22, 2017
Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, released a statement, according to The Times of Israel:
‘The vice president is committed to seeing the tax cut through to the finish line. (Pence) looks forward to traveling to Egypt and Israel in January.’
Trump made a unilateral decision to give Israel Jerusalem as their capital, December 6. Previous presidents had used this as a substantial bargain chip in negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians in two-nation talks. The president could have offered Israel just the west side of Jerusalem for its capital, but he did not.
The region is a tinderbox, and Trump lit the fuse with his ill-advised action. As a result, the Palestinian officials and leading Muslim and Christian clerics did not want Pence to visit. The United Nations condemned Trump’s unilateral gift of Jerusalem to Israel.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry published its list of foreign dignitaries visiting Israel in January, and Pence was not on the list. To clarify, the Israeli officials gave the reason as “due to various scheduling difficulties.” Thus far, the Israelis have not set a new date for Pence to visit.
The Trump administration said that the vice president’s trip had been rescheduled for January 14. However, that was when Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was leaving on a previously scheduled five-day trip to India.
Instead, the administration will send the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, in late January.
Pence was originally scheduled to travel to Egypt then meet with Netanyahu and give a speech to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament.) Then, he planned to meet with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and go to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
The plan had been for him to go to Ramallah and meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. However, Abbas said that he would no longer negotiate with the U.S., even after Trump leaves office.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Alex Wong.