A lot of people anticipated that Donald Trump would choose a running mate that could help him balance out the ticket, but that does not appear to be the case. Though he won’t officially announce his VP pick until Friday, multiple sources have confirmed that the presumptive Republican nominee will select Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
Choosing Pence is pretty much Trump’s way of doubling down on the intolerance and far-right ideology that has characterized his campaign thus far.
Don’t miss a beat
Get the latest news and thought-provoking analysis from Truthout.
Heck, fellow governors have labeled Pence a “bigot,” meaning we’ve got an all-bigot ticket on our hands! If that’s not alarming enough, here are some other reasons to panic about this choice:
1. He’s Made Headlines With His “Religious Freedom” Law
When the governor signed the state’s controversial “right to discriminate” bill into law, he defended it as a good thing for the state. He craftily pretended that it was not designed to discriminate LGBT people even though it was clearly meant to do just that all along.
However, corporations threatened to pull money from Indiana’s economy and Pence realized his state was going to suffer big time if the law remained untouched. From there he pledged to “fix” the law to protect LGBT people.
2. He’s No Fan of Gay People
Make no mistake, Pence may have backtracked, but he is no supporter of the LGBT community. Over the years as a politician, he’s pushed for constitutional amendments to define marriage as between a man and a woman, he’s opposed legislation that deemed violence against gay people a hate crime and he’s declined to fund HIV/AIDS programs that “celebrate” a gay lifestyle.
3. He’s Anti-Immigration
Trump is best known to voters as a man who wants to build a wall on the Mexican border, and Pence is no different – he previously voted to put a wall on the same border. Additionally, he has moved to end birthright citizenship to “anchor babies” and wanted to require that hospitals report undocumented patients to immigration officials.
Back in 2006 when the House and Senate were having a difficult time agreeing on immigration reform, Pence offered up a “compromise” bill that offered no amnesty to immigrants currently living in the country. That’s hardly a compromise – that’s a tougher stance than most conservatives take, actually.
4. He Loves Guns
Pence is a big proponent of the second amendment, even when the ideas stop making common sense. Recently, he’s signed laws like one that allows people to bring guns into school parking lots and another one that deprives people of the ability to sue gun dealers that negligently (or intentionally) sell guns to felons
Pence has an A+ rating from the NRA, which is not an easy grade to receive unless you side with the NRA every time.
5. He’s Needlessly Tough on Drugs
At a time when a lot of the nation began to at least consider decriminalizing marijuana, Pence went the other way on possession of cannabis. He proposed that being caught with even a tiny amount of weed should count as a felony rather than a misdemeanor, thereby ensuring a prison system overcrowded with non-violent criminals is kept intact.
6. He’s Buddies With the Koch Brothers
“I’ve met David Koch on several occasions,” Pence said. “I’m grateful to have enjoyed his support.” In particular, he thanked the Koch brothers and their organization Americans for Prosperity for their “activism” in helping to reduce the income tax in Indiana and (supposedly) limiting the role of government.
7. He’s Frighteningly Anti-Choice
While it may be too much to expect a pro-choice VP nominee from Trump, did he have to choose a man with such clear contempt for a woman’s autonomy over her body? Indiana has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, thanks in large part to Pence’s leadership on this issue.
In addition to turning the defunding of Planned Parenthood into his personal hobby, Pence promoted laws designed to humiliate women and make abortion procedures less safe. Some of his own Republican colleagues disagreed with his ideas, worried that his emphasis was on punishing women rather than actually saving fetuses.
8. He’s a Tea Party “Hero”
Pence’s small government, slash taxes and budgets approach to legislating has made him a favorite among Tea Party members. The Washington Post deemed him a “tea party Republican before there was a tea party.”
9. He’s Tried to Block Refugees
Last year, at a time when Syrian refugees were fleeing from their home country for their lives, Pence banned state agencies from bringing Syrian refugees into Indiana. “Indiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world, but, as governor, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers,” he said.
Fortunately, a federal judge subsequently rejected Pence’s ban for being blatantly discriminatory.
10. He’s Not an Environmentalist
When Obama unveiled his Clean Power Plan in 2015, Pence was one of the scheme’s most vocal critics. He put the “health of the economy” above the health of the environment, saying he needed to look out for energy companies as the state’s job providers.
His response shouldn’t be that surprising, considering he previously declared, “I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming.”
11. He’s Extremely Religious
Pence was actually raised in a Catholic, apolitical household , but later became a born-again Christian after meeting his wife.
When asked to describe himself, Pence says he is “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” In other words, he puts his faith first, which is probably why he can’t get behind any socially liberal ideas.
Pence is expected to be a big hit with evangelical voters who might be unconvinced of Trump’s self-professed strong Christian faith.