Thank you for serving as Trump’s prop
An assessment of the late “great” Vice President
One sure-fire way to get close to former President Trump is to become his prop. Ask former Vice President Mike Pence.
As Trump’s props go, we have the super-size red tie, the American flag, the golf cart with Sen. Lindsey Graham in tow, the slinkily dressed models and former one term Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. All have a shelf life — they’ve been objectified — including “Mike Pence.”
Except the breathing Mike Pence, unlike other props — Manafort, Stone and Giuliani to name a few — is alive and well and not fleeing justice.
Which puts his validation as a prop at risk.
What’s a living, breathing prop to do? Deny the existence of an insurrection whose goal among many was to hang you in effigy on the South Lawn? Have as your last public act the dubious role of gaveling in the victory of your boss’s successor. which your boss, claims was a victory stolen? Attempt to skirt Trump NDA-for-life gaggings to collect income from a book deal?
Pence has attempted to stay in public sight, and this is not what we expect of former props. Pence surfaced briefly at this week’s CPAC political beauty contest: his popularity ranked last with 0% of the attendees’ approval.
Which leaves Republicans with a transfer of power dilemma: no mature and tested Trump prop has emerged. Pence squandered his prop position thanks to the Constitution. By presiding over the certification of the Presidential election result, Pence was placed in the position of defying his boss’s claims.
A singular moment for a prop. But Pence kept his gravitas if not his head. Minutes later a 1/6 insurrection-embedded photo-journalist would photograph Pence’s “gallows” on the Capitol lawn. Trump was on the phone presumably demanding that Pence “stand down.” Fortunately officer Eugene Goodwin of the Capitol Police singlehandedly helped prevent Pence’s “hostagery,” and presumed hanging. The man, not the prop, survived.
In theater parlance the dramatic “moment” is often times fueled by props. The strategy is to augment the presence of the actor by the space around them, a space seasoned by an object or objects. This is called “dramatic effect.” As audience we rely on objects in order to accept the human presence. And vice versa: the objects provide a verisimilitude to the verbal goings on.
Enter Trump’s world: the show must go on. However sketchy or sinister, in the end Trump’s presence is fueled by props.
And the late great Vice-President was one of them. Not the role Pence may have expected, but a role nevertheless he filled.
In the post-Trump Presidency show the jockeying for prop-designate is afoot.