Vice President Mike Pence isn’t just standing around holding a clipboard and playing backup QB to President Trump. Instead, the man who is arguably one of the most influential and powerful vice-presidents in American history has been rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty for the American people.
Which, in this case, means pushing his bosses’ agenda any way he can.
And if that means busting a few chops, or making a few grown men cry, well, that’s just the way things are.
In a Politico profile describing the “tightrope act” Pence walks in his role as VP, writer Tim Alberta describe how Pence tried to convince hesitant Freedom Caucus members to support President Trump’s healthcare bill back in March.
Here’s how the meeting went, according to Alberta:
Not long after they had gathered, however, the door was flung open and in marched Pence. He was accompanied by Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and neither man was smiling.
Pence — himself a former member of the Tea Party Caucus — reportedly pleaded with members to hop on board with the bill, and “let loose an uncharacteristic flash of anger”:
“I was the Freedom Caucus before the Freedom Caucus existed,” Pence told them, his voice rising, according to multiple people who were in the room. “Don’t try to tell me this bill isn’t conservative enough.”
Politico reports that Pence’s pleading worked.
After Pence abruptly exited the meeting, and several grown men had broken into tears because of the tension present in the room, a chorus of Freedom Caucus members informed Chairman Meadows that they would now support the legislation if a vote were held.
But it was too late for first version of the bill, because by then the moderates House Speaker Paul Ryan had collected to support the bill were no longer on board, and he was forced to withdraw it from consideration.
At least until May, when it ended up passing the House.
The seeds Vice-President Pence sowed that day likely helped the bill’s ultimate passage.
Pence’s power play was not lost on a group of lawmakers who pride themselves on defying their party’s leadership. “There were a number of our people who would have voted with the vice president based on that meeting,” Meadows tells me. “There were House Freedom Caucus members willing to support the bill, despite great reservations, because of Vice President Pence.”
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.
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